The Collegian
Wednesday, April 17, 2024

UR moves to top of A-10 after win over La Salle

<p>Freshman guard Ally Sweeney during the Feb. 21 game against La Salle University. Courtesy of Richmond Athletics.</p>

Freshman guard Ally Sweeney during the Feb. 21 game against La Salle University. Courtesy of Richmond Athletics.

In a day packed with conference action, the Spiders' 74-54 win over La Salle University on Feb. 21 helped the University of Richmond women’s basketball team break a tie atop the Atlantic 10 conference.

Entering the contest tied for 12th in the conference, the Explorers seemed poised to play spoiler for the Spiders as a 9-3 lead on 3-for-3 shooting kept UR off balance. Although several timely turnovers forced by senior forward Addie Budnik and sophomore forward Maggie Doogan kept the deficit manageable, only a single basket from sophomore guard Rachel Ullstrom had fallen for the Spiders during this five-minute stretch.

The Spiders appeared to find their stride just moments later, beginning with a layup from junior guard Katie Hill. Ullstrom then combined with senior guard Grace Townsend for five more points, giving the Spiders their first lead of the day, 10-9.

“[La Salle] executed very well and did have us on our heels,” UR Head Coach Aaron Roussell said of the first quarter in a postgame press conference. “I thought for the most part, when we settled down and kept things in front of us, we were a lot better.”

With Townsend’s go-ahead basket, the Spiders kicked off a massive 17-8 run that extended well into the second quarter. Offensively, the stretch was paced by Hill, who notched 7 of her 9 points over this span. At the other end, it was a full team defensive effort that held the Explorers to just one offensive rebound in eight minutes of play.

Through the final four minutes winding down into halftime, the Explorers would record just two more points, while shots continued to fall for the Spiders. Townsend turned two consecutive steals into 4 points, while senior guard Siobhan Ryan collected her first three points of the contest. A 3-pointer from Budnik as time expired put an exclamation mark on the Spiders’ first-half performance, ballooning the lead to 16.

UR’s defensive prowess was on immediate display to open the second half, as the Explorers were kept from the paint and off the boards. Strong pressure made 14 of the Explorers’ 17 third-quarter shots 3-pointers, of which only three fell. Second-chance opportunities were similarly stifled for La Salle, as the Spiders recorded 13 defensive rebounds en route to a 28-point cushion.

The Explorers would outscore UR 23-15 in the fourth quarter as the Spiders shot just 35% from the field, though the deficit never came under 20 points. Doogan broke the drought more than four minutes into the quarter with a layup, while Ullstrom added five to her game-leading total of 20 points. La Salle was finally able to sustain its offensive pressure – recording more than 40% of their total rebounds for the game – but by this point the contest was too far out of reach.

With the win, the Spiders ousted Saint Joseph’s University from its shared position on top of the A-10 with only three games to go.

“It’s getting close to the end of the regular season,” Townsend said in a postgame press conference. “Definitely we’re taking one game at a time… just handling our game, everything else will work out in the end.”

UR will next travel to George Mason University for a game at 6 p.m. Feb. 24. 

Contact sports writer Scott Valentine at scott.valentine@richmond.edu

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Entering the contest tied for 12th in the conference, the Explorers seemed poised to play spoiler for the Spiders as a 9-3 lead on 3-for-3 shooting kept UR off balance. Although several timely turnovers forced by senior forward Addie Budnik and sophomore forward Maggie Doogan kept the deficit manageable, only a single basket from sophomore guard Rachel Ullstrom had fallen for the Spiders during this five-minute stretch.

The Spiders appeared to find their stride just moments later, beginning with a layup from junior guard Katie Hill. Ullstrom then combined with senior guard Grace Townsend for five more points, giving the Spiders their first lead of the day, 10-9.

“[La Salle] executed very well and did have us on our heels,” UR Head Coach Aaron Roussell said of the first quarter in a postgame press conference. “I thought for the most part, when we settled down and kept things in front of us, we were a lot better.”

With Townsend’s go-ahead basket, the Spiders kicked off a massive 17-8 run that extended well into the second quarter. Offensively, the stretch was paced by Hill, who notched 7 of her 9 points over this span. At the other end, it was a full team defensive effort that held the Explorers to just one offensive rebound in eight minutes of play.

Through the final four minutes winding down into halftime, the Explorers would record just two more points, while shots continued to fall for the Spiders. Townsend turned two consecutive steals into 4 points, while senior guard Siobhan Ryan collected her first three points of the contest. A 3-pointer from Budnik as time expired put an exclamation mark on the Spiders’ first-half performance, ballooning the lead to 16.

UR’s defensive prowess was on immediate display to open the second half, as the Explorers were kept from the paint and off the boards. Strong pressure made 14 of the Explorers’ 17 third-quarter shots 3-pointers, of which only three fell. Second-chance opportunities were similarly stifled for La Salle, as the Spiders recorded 13 defensive rebounds en route to a 28-point cushion.

The Explorers would outscore UR 23-15 in the fourth quarter as the Spiders shot just 35% from the field, though the deficit never came under 20 points. Doogan broke the drought more than four minutes into the quarter with a layup, while Ullstrom added five to her game-leading total of 20 points. La Salle was finally able to sustain its offensive pressure – recording more than 40% of their total rebounds for the game – but by this point the contest was too far out of reach.

With the win, the Spiders ousted Saint Joseph’s University from its shared position on top of the A-10 with only three games to go.

“It’s getting close to the end of the regular season,” Townsend said in a postgame press conference. “Definitely we’re taking one game at a time… just handling our game, everything else will work out in the end.”

UR will next travel to George Mason University for a game at 6 p.m. Feb. 24. 

Contact sports writer Scott Valentine at scott.valentine@richmond.edu.

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