The Collegian
Friday, February 23, 2024

Spiders take down George Washington for 21st win of the season

Sophomore guard Rachel Ullstrom during the Feb. 11 game. Courtesy of Richmond Athletics.
Sophomore guard Rachel Ullstrom during the Feb. 11 game. Courtesy of Richmond Athletics.

There was a point in the third quarter of the University of Richmond women’s basketball game against the George Washington University where the Colonials had cut the deficit to 9 points. 

The Colonials, who started to set up a press against UR, were sticking around despite the Spiders’ success from field goal range and the 3-point line. 

However, any hopes of a possible GW comeback were squelched by the Spiders, who are now 21-4 on the season and 11-1 in conference play after their 83-61 statement win at the Robins Center Feb. 11. This victory gives UR a share of the lead at the the top of the Atlantic 10 standings with Saint Joseph’s University. 

In the first quarter, UR jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but after the first 10 minutes of gameplay, things proved to be tight, with the Spiders only holding a 3-point lead. 

The second quarter was where the Spiders were able to force some separation on the scoreboard. Sophomore guard Rachel Ullstrom had back-to-back possessions where she got a steal and was able to pad the Spiders’ lead. 

It began with a steal and score as she got fouled, putting Ullstrom at the line to complete the and-one play. Then, on the subsequent defensive possession, she picked up another steal and connected on a layup to cap off a quick 5-point skid heading into a timeout. At halftime, UR had increased its lead to 14 over the Colonials, 40-26. 

In the second half, the Spiders maintained their separation, extending their lead to 17 points in the early going. 

The Colonials were able to inch back and make it a 9-point game at different points in the quarter, but it was no match for the Spiders who ended the quarter on top, 64-47. 

With just over three minutes to play in regulation, UR had piled on the offense to the point where its lead swelled to as many as 26. This gave the Spiders a chance to get their bench more involved in the closing minutes. 

The Spiders shot 68.4% from 3-point range and 58.3% from the field throughout the contest. Defensively, the team was solid as well, picking up 14 steals in the contest. Ullstrom and sophomore forward Maggie Doogan each had 4 steals in the game. 

Ullstrom led the way in the scoring column, chipping in 24 points off the bench and shooting 4-for-4 from the 3-point line. 

“I think coming off the bench and providing that spark is very important because again, everyone’s always looking at the starting five, ‘what are they doing, what are they doing?’” Ullstrom said in a postgame press conference. “So it’s always good to try to add a little extra spice, I guess, to the game and just have us win…” 

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Doogan, senior guard Grace Townsend and senior forward Addie Budnik all also scored in double figures, contributing 19, 12 and 11 points, respectively.

The last time the Spiders played the Colonials was in their first conference game this season back on Dec. 30, and they only won by 4 points. This time around, they won by a 22-point margin. 

“We were winning games, but we weren’t winning with the same margins we are right now,” UR Head Coach Aaron Roussell said in a postgame press conference. “And I think you had to make sure that, ‘hey, we didn’t peak when we were 7-0,’ that you had to keep getting better. And I think that’s something we’ve really preached to our team is, ‘it’s not so much what the record is, it’s how well you’re playing at the end of the season.’”

UR’s next game is away against the Virginia Commonwealth University at the nearby Siegel Center at 6 p.m. Feb. 14. The Spiders bested the Rams in their first matchup earlier this season, winning 72-65 at the Robins Center.

“We know going there, it’s their home court, so they’re gonna have a little chip on their shoulder,” Doogan said in a postgame press conference. “So we just have to come in and know what we’re doing, know personnel, lock down on what we want to do and just play our game.”

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

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