The University of Richmond women’s basketball team lost 68-72 to the Virginia Commonwealth University at the Spiders' home court of the Robins Center on Wednesday evening.
The UR-VCU feud dates back to 1941, with VCU holding onto a 45-41 lead over the 81-year rivalry. The Spiders entered the match-up with a 13-8 regular-season record and a 4-4 Atlantic 10 Conference record, while the Rams entered with an 8-8 regular season and 3-3 A10 record.
The first minutes of the game were brutal for UR, with VCU gaining a 10-nothing lead by the 7:00 mark of the first quarter. UR’s sophomore forward Addie Budnik broke the Rams streak with a layup at 6:44.
By the end of the first quarter, UR was already down 18-5. First-year forward Cayla Williams and Budnik scored the remaining three points.
The first quarter was detrimental for the Spiders — they shot 2-14 in field goals at 14% while the Rams shot 6-18 for 50%. By the second quarter, UR would outshoot the Rams with a 55% accuracy to the Rams' 31%.
“We know we are better than that,” UR's head coach Aaron Roussell said during the post-game press conference. “We got to shoot the ball better.”
Sophomore guard Siobhan Ryan got the Spiders started in the second quarter with two crisp free throws after a foul by VCU. Nearly halfway through the quarter, Williams sank back-to-back threes to close the deficit to single digits. Ryan followed up with a single free throw that brought the score to 20-23. With 1:35 left in the first half, sophomore guard Grace Townsend sank a three. UR entered halftime down by two with a score of 27-29 and with two free throws by freshman guard Katie Hill.
Right out of the gate — not even thirty seconds into the third quarter — senior guard Claire Holt scored a jump shot from the paint, tying the game 29-29. The Rams scored at 9:15, but Holt followed up behind them, going two-for-two for free throws and tying the game once again. Budnik followed her teammate’s tying free throws with a quick three-pointer to gain the lead.
With 6:24 on the clock and the Spiders down by two, Townsend decided it was her turn to tie the game with a jumper from the paint, bringing the score to 36-36. Budnik, once again followed with a three, gaining the lead again. In the final minute of the third quarter, Townsend and senior guard Kate Klimkiewicz added five points gaining UR the lead 50-46.
“Those middle two quarters for us I thought were outstanding,” Roussell said. “I thought we played really, really well. I thought we kind of kept them on their toes.”
In the final quarter, the Rams began with a three-pointer from Te-Biasu, but Budnik followed up with her third three-pointer of the game. The following minutes were a back-and-forth exchange of points, but by 5:42, the Rams tied the game 59-59. At 2:57, Townsend tied the game with two free throws, the fifth time the Spiders had come back and tied the game.
In the final minutes of the fourth quarter, the Spiders played a strong offense, but the Rams secured the lead and the win over the Spiders, the final score 72-68.
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The Spiders will play again at 1 p.m. on Feb. 5 versus the Saint Bonaventure University Bonnies at their home court at the Reilly Center in St. Bonaventure, New York.
Contact sports co-editor Andrew Cardounel at email@example.com.
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