The University of Richmond women’s basketball team traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico to participate in the Puerto Rico Clasico tournament and close out the Spiders’ non-conference schedule.
The Spiders defeated Ball State University 75-73 on Dec. 20 and defeated Tarleton State University 55-43 on Dec. 21, giving the team two wins on the road before the team’s break in the schedule for the holidays.
Against Ball State, UR started off strong, leading 24-17 after the first quarter and 46-34 after the second quarter.
However, the Cardinals were able to cut the deficit and led 56-51 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Spiders fought back in the fourth quarter and were down by one point with just over a minute left to play. Junior forward Addie Budnik hit a clutch three-pointer with two seconds left and the Spiders emerged victorious.
In addition to her game-sealing three-pointer, Budnik scored another 10 points. First-year guard Rachel Ullstrom added 13 points off the bench. Junior guard Siobhan Ryan carried the rest of the load offensively with 27 points.
Against Tarleton State, the Spiders started quickly again, going on a 19-0 run to begin the game. Until the fourth quarter, where the Texans cut the deficit to eight points with 1:09 left in regulation, the Spiders held control.
Budnik dominated the scoring column with 28 points against the Texans and was the only Spider to score in double figures in the team’s second game.
“Really proud of our players,” UR head coach Aaron Roussell said in a statement after the game against Tarleton State. “This was obviously two difficult games down here in Puerto Rico.”
Roussell was proud of the defensive effort and intensity in the team’s second game, as he knows how difficult games before a break can be, he said.
“You always, as a coach, kind of been through enough of these to know that these can be a grind going into break,” Roussell said. “Nothing that you’re always doing wrong, but really just proud of how tough we were.”
These wins bring the Spiders’ record to 10-3 on the season. Since Dec. 11, the team has won four straight games.
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After a tough 100-49 loss at home against Duke University on Dec. 4, the team bounced back with wins against Longwood University and Elon University before the tournament in Puerto Rico. In their game against Longwood, the Spiders broke the record for points scored by the women’s program in the Robins Center with 119 points.
Looking forward, the Spiders’ next game is at home on Dec. 31 at 12 p.m. against George Washington University — the team’s first Atlantic 10 conference opponent of the season.
“But also, to be 10-3 with the schedule that we had with some of the big wins that we’ve had I think says a lot about us and hopefully I think has some high level of confidence for us going into A-10 play,” Roussell said.
Contact sports writer Jimmy James at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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