The University of Richmond Spiders fell short to city rivals VCU Rams 73-49 with six players out because of COVID-19 protocols.
The visiting Rams opened up on a hot start finishing the first quarter with 25 points compared to UR’s four. They were led by senior guard Taya Robinson who had 10 points in the quarter and finished with a team-high of 15. The team managed to make four three-pointers while also shooting 58.8% from the field overall. The Spiders on the other hand struggled to get the ball in the hoop shooting 8.3% from the field.
“We didn’t execute very well,” said Spiders head coach Aaron Roussell. “VCU came in locked in, ready, realizing this was a rivalry game and I think that was the story.”
To end the quarter, first-year guard Siobhan Ryan hit a buzzer-beating three to create some much-needed momentum for the Spiders. This shot, however, was ruled no good as it was shot after time ran out.
In the second quarter, UR managed to shorten VCU’s lead before halftime by making it 35-21. First-year guard Grace Townsend would lead the team with seven points while sophomore forward Elaina Chapman was right behind her with six. Townsend would finish with eight points and three assists while Chapman would finish with 11 points and seven rebounds. Despite winning the quarter 17-10, the Spiders still struggled from the field, shooting 37.5%.
The second half was dominated by the Rams, as they showed exactly why they were picked to win the A-10 in the preseason. Despite shooting a worse percentage than UR with 32% compared to their 39%, VCU managed to control the boards, out-rebounding the Spiders 28-13. Redshirt junior guard Janika Griffith-Wallace would lead the Rams with eight in the half, finishing with 13.
“Those kids get hyped and ready for this game and that's something that was impressive to me,” Roussell said. “They were ready today. Hopefully, that’s something that we can learn.”
A huge part of UR’s improved shooting in the second half comes thanks to junior guard Kate Klimkiewicz. She shot a perfect four for four from the three-point line while also scoring a half-high 14 points. Klimkiewicz would also finish with a game-high 19 points.
A-10 rookie of the week, Addie Budnik finished with four points and four rebounds. She also notched one block making her total 15 on the season. Entering the game, Budnik was 10th in the nation in total blocks, number one amongst first years. She also was sixth in blocks per game with 3.5.
“She’s put up some numbers and helped us win some games but I think the thing with [Budnik] and all of our freshmen I think we’ve been impressed just with the way that they play," Roussell said. “They know the game, they make the right decisions, [and] they’re smart basketball players.”
The Spiders will take on the Howard Bison in its next game that tips off at 2 p.m. on Dec. 22.
Contact sports editor Krystian Hadjuczka at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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