The women’s basketball team fought its way back to defeat the Duquesne Dukes at the Robins Center on Wednesday, Feb. 12.
The Spiders earned a 67-64 victory in overtime after a slow start offensively. Richmond was able to rally after falling behind early, as the team faced a 10-0 deficit in the first five minutes of the game.
Sophomore Aniyah Carpenter provided a spark off of the bench and led the way for the Spiders, tallying a career-high 21 points. First-year Elaina Chapman also added a double-double off the bench with career-highs in points (14) and rebounds (11).
First-year head coach Aaron Roussell praised his bench after the come-from-behind victory.
“I thought the bench came in and gave us some energy,” he said. “Aniyah was great in keeping us close there in the first half.”
The Spiders switched to a 2-3 zone with two minutes left in the second quarter after the Dukes were able to get comfortable offensively to start the game. Richmond frequently switched up its defensive formation for the remainder of the game to hold the Duquesne attack in check.
“I thought our defense was pretty much the story,” Roussel said. “That was a really low scoring game versus the potent offense that they are. For us to hold them to 31% shooting -- and that’s really been our ‘MO’ for awhile now.”
The Spiders held the lead for only 4 minutes and 45 seconds during the 45-minute conference tilt, with their first lead coming in the first possession of the fourth quarter after first-year guard Angel Burgos beat her defender on a right-handed drive to the rim.
The Spiders were able to capitalize from the three-point line as they shot a respectable 8-20 from deep, three of them coming from Carpenter off the bench.
The second-year guard emphasized the importance of clicking as a team heading toward the final stretch of A-10 play.
“We just needed energy coming off the bench,” Carpenter said. “This is a big game for us, I’m gonna come in and give everything I have for my team.”
Richmond was ultimately able to offset its struggles from the free-throw line, where they shot 53%, by getting easy baskets to fall. The Spiders got back into the game with their transition offense, outscoring the Dukes 17-2 on fast break opportunities.
The Spiders continue their home stand on Sunday when they host the third place Fordham Rams at 2 p.m.
After the game, Roussell emphasized that he was pleased with Wednesday’s results, but he was quick to acknowledge the challenge at hand this upcoming weekend against the Rams.
“That’s going to be about as well a prepared team as you’re going to find out there,” he said. “That team is physical, but they’re smart. They don’t make mistakes.
Wednesday's game began with a congratulatory presentation for senior forward Jaide Hinds-Clarke, who was acknowledged before the game by Roussell for becoming the 25th player in program history to reach the 1,000 point milestone after scoring 12 points against La Salle University last Sunday.
While Richmond’s starters weren’t able to find their groove tonight, Coach Roussell remains confident in his leaders.
“We had some of our better players that, you know, sometimes it's just not your day,” Roussell said. “If they would’ve had two more chances I think they would’ve probably bounced back.”
The Spiders are now 12-13 on the season and 5-6 in the Atlantic 10, sitting at 8th place in the league standings.
Contact contributor Ryan Harford at email@example.com.