The Collegian
Friday, February 23, 2024

Women’s basketball goes undefeated in Vibrant Thanksgiving Classic

<p>Women's basketball team prepare for their match against Louisiana Tech University at the the Vibrant Thanksgiving Classic in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo courtesy of Richmond Athletics. &nbsp;</p>

Women's basketball team prepare for their match against Louisiana Tech University at the the Vibrant Thanksgiving Classic in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo courtesy of Richmond Athletics.  

It’s not even four weeks into the regular season, and the University of Richmond women’s basketball team is rolling. 

Following a tough 30-point loss away against Duke University Nov. 6 to open up the season, the Spiders have rattled off win after win and haven’t looked back. 

UR played three games over the holiday in the Vibrant Thanksgiving Classic in Des Moines, Iowa, and won each contest, bringing the team’s win streak to six on the young season. The Spiders defeated the University of Maine 77-43, Drake University 74-66 and Louisiana Tech University 83-56.  

In the first game of the weekend on Nov. 24, the Spiders went neck and neck with the Black Bears early, finishing the first quarter up 17-16. UR jumped ahead by eight points with three minutes to go in the first quarter, but could only get the one-point cushion heading into the next 10 minutes. 

In the second quarter, play was back-and-forth again until the Spiders jumped out to a double-digit lead with 1:33 to go in the first half. UR finished the half ahead by eight points. Sophomore forward Maggie Doogan scored 14 points in the second quarter alone, which put the Spiders on pace to take control of the game.

The Spiders would go on to dominate the second half, outscoring the Black Bears 39-13 over the final two quarters en route to a 34-point victory. Doogan was the Spiders’ guiding light, finishing the game with 27 points and 7 rebounds. Other key contributors included senior forward Addie Budnik who notched 13 points and senior guard Grace Townsend who had 12 points and 8 rebounds. 

“Just really proud of our second-half defensive effort,” UR Head Coach Aaron Roussell said in a postgame press conference after defeating the Black Bears. “To hold a team like that to 13 points in a half I think speaks to kind of how far we’ve come defensively. 

Against Drake, the Spiders encountered a more evenly matched game overall, with the score fluctuating, but tighter in the final minutes.

The Spiders found themselves down by seven points heading into the second quarter, as the Bulldogs outscored UR 19-12 through the first 10 minutes. But, Drake’s early offensive push proved to be no match for the Spiders, as the team bounced back with a push of their own. 

UR outscored Drake 30-7 in the second quarter, where the Spiders’ shooting was lights-out. Overall, UR shot 61.11% from the field and 70% from 3-point range in the quarter. The Spiders made 7 3-point jumpers in a 10-minute span en route to regaining the lead 42-26 by the time halftime arrived. 

Drake would outscore UR in both the third and fourth quarters to retake the offensive momentum, but the Spiders held on to their lead and ultimately finished ahead by eight points.

UR shared the wealth offensively against the Bulldogs, as four Spiders scored in double-figures. Budnik led all scorers with 17 points, Doogan chipped in 14, Townsend had 11 and junior guard Katie Hill had 10. Senior guard Siobhan Ryan and sophomore guard Rachel Ullstrom were not far behind with 9 points apiece.

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“It’s a big-time win against a big-time program in a really tough environment,” Roussell said in a postgame press conference after the win over Drake. “These guys don’t lose a lot, they don’t lose at home really ever, so I think hopefully the gravity of how big of a win this is kind of hits our kids a little bit, ‘cause this is a big-time one for us.”

In the Spiders’ final game in Iowa, UR capped off a dominant weekend with a 27-point win over the Lady Techsters. 

The Spiders got out to a 25-17 lead early on through one quarter. From there, UR did not take its foot off the pedal. The Spiders had another dominant second quarter, this time outscoring their opponent 20-3 in quarter two. This led to a 45-20 lead over Louisiana Tech to close out a quarter where the Lady Techsters only made one shot over a 10-minute period. 

The third quarter proved no different in terms of UR’s output, as the Spiders continued pouring on the offense over Louisiana Tech. In the third quarter, UR shot 71.43% from the field, leading the Lady Techsters 70-38 with 10 minutes still to go in regulation.

Louisiana Tech did outscore the Spiders in the final quarter, 18-13, as UR’s shooting percentage fell to 23.08% from the field after going 3-for-13. But, the Spiders still won and left Des Moines with three wins to put on their early season resumé. 

Doogan had another stellar performance with 21 points and 6 rebounds. Doogan was named the MVP of the Vibrant Thanksgiving Tournament for her efforts throughout the weekend. Ullstrom added 15 points off the bench and Budnik scored 12 points. 

The Spiders’ record now sits at 6-1 with one more game remaining in the month. With wins over Delaware State University, Gardner-Webb University, American University, Maine, Drake and Louisiana Tech, UR has picked up some convincing wins early on in the season. 

The Spiders will play their fourth-straight game away from the Robins Center against Villanova University at 7 p.m. Nov. 30. 

Contact sports editor Jimmy James at jimmy.james@richmond.edu

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