Feb. 23, 2011
UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va. -
Richmond led by as many as 16, but had to weather a 19-4 La Salle run to edge the Explorers, 69-65, Wednesday night at Tom Gola Arena.
Richmond seemed to put the game out of reach with a 55-39 advantage, its largest of the game, with 16:50 left to go. But La Salle stuck around and staged a furious 19-4 run to cut the deficit to 59-58 with 7:52 remaining in the game. Richmond was held without a field goal in this nine-minute drought and relied on four free tosses to keep the lead in the Spiders' hands.
The Spiders scored five in a row and again looked to build on their momentum at 64-58 but an Ashley Gale long ball slashed the deficit to 64-61 with 5:32 remaining. Gale kept La Salle in the game with two free throws to cut the Spider lead to 67-65 with 1:05 remaining, but Richmond capitalized on two missed Explorers free throws to secure the win. Veteran Brittani Shells iced the game with two made free throws with 14 seconds left.
The first half was nearly flawless for Richmond, as the Spiders shot 58 percent from the field (18-for-31) and 6-of-11 (55%) from long range. The Spiders were buoyed by the stellar play of Abby Oliver, who had 13 first-half points and had three treys in the first frame. Oliver finished with a game-high 20 tallies, her eighth 20 point game, sixth this season. Oliver tied a career-high with four threes.
Shells followed with 15 points, and now is only 11 tallies shy of the 2,000-point mark. The program's second-leading scorer goes for the milestone on her senior day Saturday. She will be the second-ever Spider to record 2,000 or more points. (All-time leading scorer Karen Elsner has 2,367 career points.)
Crystal Goring did not disappoint, with her second-straight double-double of 11 points and 11 boards. Goring has recorded 11 career double-doubles, including six this season.
Samantha Bilney chipped in with seven points, three assists and three steals, while A-10 Rookie of the Week Genevieve Okoro added five points and Leah Johnson had another solid game off the bench with six points.
Richmond recorded 17 assists, one shy of tying a season-high. At one point, the Spiders had 14 assists on 18 first-half buckets. Eight different Spiders recorded dishes.
The Spiders also had 11 steals. Shells had two and is only two grabs shy of being the all-time steals leader.
Richmond honors seniors Shells, Goring, Rebecca Kretchman in a pregame ceremony set for 1:45 p.m. Saturday. Head coach Michael Shafer will also be honored for recording his 100th win.
The Spiders host Saint Louis at 2:00 p.m. in their last regular season game of the season.