The Collegian
Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Women’s basketball squeaks out first conference victory over GW

Senior guard Grace Townsend during the Dec. 30 game. Courtesy of Richmond Athletics.
Senior guard Grace Townsend during the Dec. 30 game. Courtesy of Richmond Athletics.

Following the team’s holiday break, the University of Richmond women’s basketball team picked up a close victory over The George Washington University Dec. 30, defeating the Revolutionaries 70-66. 

After competing in the Cherokee Invitational from Dec. 20 to Dec. 21 and leaving the tournament 1-1 after an 83-76 loss to Michigan State University and a 64-60 win over the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, the Spiders traveled to Washington D.C. for their first conference game of the season. 

“We’re gonna be challenged going into break and that’s a good thing for us, ‘cause like I said, this will be a tough road ahead to start our conference play, too,” UR Head Coach Aaron Rousell said in a postgame press conference after the team’s win over Liberty University Dec. 16, speaking to the opponents awaiting them in the Cherokee Invitational.

UR began the game in control offensively, leading GW 11-4 at the 6:49 mark. Senior guards Siobhan Ryan and Grace Townsend scored the Spiders’ first 11 points, adding 5 and 6 points, respectively, in the early minutes of the first quarter. 

Unfortunately for the Spiders, the Revolutionaries ended the first quarter on top, fighting back to lead UR 19-14 through the first 10 minutes of the game. For the rest of regulation, gameplay remained tight, with six lead changes and four instances where the score was tied over the course of the contest. 

With 4:22 remaining in the first half, the Spiders went ahead by as many as six points, but a two-point lead was all they could muster heading into the halftime break, leading GW 37-35 at the end of the second quarter.

In the second half, the Spiders got started fast offensively, scoring the first two baskets to open up the third quarter. Townsend and sophomore forward Maggie Doogan each scored to make it 41-35 with 8:40 remaining in quarter three.

At one point in the third quarter, the Spiders’ lead had swelled to nine points with a score of 50-41, but the Revolutionaries were able to maintain striking distance, as UR held a six-point lead heading into the final 10 minutes.

In the fourth quarter, GW took its first lead of the second half with 4:38 to go, forcing the Spiders to up their play in order to pull out the win in their first glimpse of conference play. 

UR retook the lead 30 seconds later and did not surrender the lead for the rest of the game, ultimately pulling out a 70-66 victory.

Townsend had the highest-scoring game of her career, finishing with 26 points. The other two Spiders who scored in double figures were junior guard Katie Hill and Doogan, who had 12 and 11 points, respectively. 

This win gives the Spiders their eleventh of the season, making for an 11-3 record. Last year, UR lost its first conference game to GW in another nail-biter, 65-63, but this time around, it was the Spiders’ for the taking. 

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UR’s next game is against Virginia Commonwealth University at 6 p.m. Jan. 3, where the Spiders will look to start 2-0 in conference play and defend their unbeaten home record in a clash between their crosstown rivals. 

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

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