Women’s basketball falls to Richmond for winless start to A-10 play

On the first possession of women’s basketball’s game Wednesday, Richmond missed a triple and the offensive putback couldn’t find the bottom of the hoop. After GW secured the defensive rebound, graduate student guard Jasmine Whitney missed a three-point attempt late in the shot clock on the team’s first trip up the court.

The three missed buckets would be the first of many for the Colonials (3-7, 0-4 A-10) and Spiders (5-3, 2-1 A-10). Both teams missed a combined 79 shots, scoring below each team’s average points for the season. But Richmond would scrape by for a 47–42 victory.

“Obviously I’m frustrated that we’re struggling so much to put the ball in the hole,” head coach Jennifer Rizzotti said. “I thought we had some really good opportunities close to the basket early today because we’ve been really talking a lot about getting easier shots, rather than shooting it from the perimeter, and we missed.”

GW’s inside forces – redshirt junior forward Neila Luma and freshman center Ali Brigham – finished in double figures, netting 12 and 10 points, respectively. Luma led the team in rebounding with seven, while Whitney tabbed a team-high five assists and four steals.

Junior guard Kate Klimkiewicz led the Spiders in scoring with 14 points on 6-of-13 shooting. She hit two of the game’s five total three-pointers. Freshman forward Addie Budnik and sophomore forward Elaina Chapman followed close behind, recording 12 and 10 points, respectively. Klimkiewicz and Chapman both nabbed double-digit rebounds to combine for 24 boards.

Both teams struggled to find the hoop throughout the matchup. GW shot at a 30 percent clip from the field and a 13.3 percent clip from deep, nailing just 2-of-15 attempts. Richmond was slightly more efficient, hitting 33.9 percent from the floor and 14.3 percent from three-point land.

GW showed continued progress in its ball-handling skills. The team’s turnovers has steadily decreased over the five-game span since reaching a season-high 23 turnovers against Howard. Against the Spiders, GW turned the ball over just six times – a season-low – and forced six of Richmond’s 14 turnovers.

“We probably need to be a little bit more aggressive at times putting the ball on the floor, which could result in turnovers,” Rizzotti said. “But I do like the fact that we’re passing the ball a little bit better, and we’re getting good at execution that’s resulting in good shots.”

After more than three scoreless minutes, Luma struck first with a baseline jumper. Brigham followed about 30 seconds later with a layup. Richmond quickly responded with layups after both buckets and hit a triple to take the lead.

Luma went back to work in the paint, nailing a layup to bring the Colonials within one. The Spiders would ride out the first frame with four consecutive points and a five-point advantage.

GW took control of the game in the opening minutes of the second quarter, going on a 7-0 tilt. Brigham and Luma combined for six points in the run that put GW up 13–11. Richmond responded with a 7-0 run of their own, including two back-to-back triples, to reclaim the lead.

Freshman guard Aurea Gingras cut the lead with a bucket from beyond the arc. Another six-point spurt from the Spiders pushed the advantage to seven points. A buzzer-beating triple from freshman forward Caranda Perea brought GW back within scoring distance, ending the half down four.

Richmond created more distance in the third quarter, outscoring GW 16–8 in the frame. All 16 points came in the paint.

The Colonials were outplayed all night in the paint, scoring just 22 points and giving up 32 points to the Spiders. Richmond outrebounded GW 51-32, 18 of which were on the offensive end that led to 11 points. GW only collected five second chance points from its 11 offensive boards.

“We definitely need to do a better job of protecting the basket,” Rizzotti said. “We talked about that after the game, that we’re giving up too many layups throughout the game. When we’re getting set in our defense, we’re actually pretty tough.”

The Spiders worked the lead up to 14, before a jumper from Perea cut it down to 12 heading into the final frame. GW shot just 4-of-19 in the quarter, while Richmond sunk 8-of-18.

GW came alive in the fourth quarter as junior guard Maddie Loder muscled her way to the rim for a layup and was fouled. She hit the shot from the charity stripe to complete the three-point play. The Colonials immediately responded to Richmond’s next bucket with four straight points.

Richmond hit its last field goal at the 5:39 mark, and GW began its comeback campaign to pick up its first A-10 victory. Back-to-back buckets from Luma and Brigham brought the lead down to five, and another layup from Brigham made it a one-possession game.

But the Colonials wouldn’t score again, as Richmond hit two of its last six free throws to secure the five-point victory 47–42.

“We’ve got to find a way to get easier baskets, and more post touches,” Rizzotti said. “Right now we’ve got Neila and Ali leading us in scoring, and I feel like 11 and six shots isn’t enough. I’ve got to make sure that we’re emphasizing our passing into the post, running plays that will give them good looks and making sure that we’re finishing plays.”

The Colonials are back in action Sunday to take on George Mason. Tipoff is slated for noon.

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