The Collegian
Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Women’s basketball knocks off UMass, starts 4-0 in conference play

Sophomore guard Rachel Ullstrom during the Jan. 10 game against the University of Massachusetts. Courtesy of Richmond Athletics.
Sophomore guard Rachel Ullstrom during the Jan. 10 game against the University of Massachusetts. Courtesy of Richmond Athletics.

The University of Richmond women’s basketball team defeated the University of Massachusetts 79-65 on Jan. 10, hot off three straight Atlantic 10 Conference victories against The George Washington University, Saint Joseph’s University and Virginia Commonwealth University.

This marked the Spiders’ fifth-straight win and fourth-straight conference win, as well as their seventh-straight win at the Robins Center this season.

Both teams got off to a solid start, as by the halfway point of the first quarter, the Spiders only held a one-point advantage, leading the Minutewomen 10-9. However, backed by 8 early points from sophomore forward Maggie Doogan, UR extended its lead to six points as the first quarter came to a close. 

In the second quarter, the Spiders widened their lead to 11 points, but the Minutewomen kept the deficit at bay, trailing by six as halftime rolled around, 35-29. 

A minute and 24 seconds into the second half, UR was forced to take a timeout, as UMass got off to a 7-0 run coming out of the halftime break. But, UR battled back, and after a shaky start to the third quarter, the Spiders led the Minutewomen by nine points heading into the final 10 minutes of regulation. 

Despite UMass’ 3-12 record heading into the game, the Minutewomen continued to stay in the game with the Spiders. It wasn't until the fourth quarter that UR was able to jump ahead to take a convincing lead. 

“As of right now, our team is very poised,” sophomore guard Rachel Ullstrom said in a postgame press conference. “And we have stretches where we kinda turn it over or whatever. We just know that we’re gonna get the ball back and score, and we get a stop and then we turn it back around and keep scoring, bring up the lead.”

With just under two minutes to go in regulation, UR’s lead increased to 16 points, and thanks to four Spiders scoring in double figures, UR was able to pull out a conference-leading fourth victory

“January, February basketball’s tough,” UR Head Coach Aaron Roussell said. “And like you said man, to be 4-0, that’s a good problem to have, if you even want to call it a problem.”

 It was Ullstrom who made a significant splash on the offensive end, coming off the bench for the Spiders. Ullstrom had her second-straight game scoring 20 or more points, this time chipping in 26 points and hitting 6 3-pointers throughout the contest. 

Senior forward Addie Budnik, Doogan and senior guard Grace Townsend were the other Spiders who reached double figures, scoring 16, 12 and 10 points, respectively. 

“I just feel like we’re a very older team and that comes with experience,” Ullstrom said. “And I feel like that’s gonna benefit us very well and it has proven to benefit us the past few games, so I feel like we’re gonna keep it going and keep winning.” 

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UR’s next game is against fellow A-10 stalwart, the University of Rhode Island, at 11 a.m. on Jan. 14. 

With URI hoisting an 11-5 record, UR hoisting a 14-3 record and the game taking place at the Robins Center, where the Spiders are undefeated, it will prove to be a hotly contested A-10 matchup early in the conference schedule. 

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

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