Saturday, March 6, 2010

Richmond settles for defeat with honor vs. Xavier

First Virginia Tech, then Virginia and now Richmond, all early-round losers in their conference tournaments. Unlike the Hokies and the Cavaliers, though, the Spiders don't have a lot of explaining to do.

Atlantic 10 Tournament
Show Place Arena, Upper Marlboro, Md.
Announced attendance: 1,006

#1 Xavier 61, #8 Richmond 52: For the second time this season, the Spiders showed they could compete with the nation's No. 5 team. And that's no easy trick - the Musketeers (25-3) won all 14 of their previous A-10 games by an average of 19.1 points. We felt Brittani Shells would need to have a strong scoring game for the Spiders to pull the surprise, and she did her part with 21 points. Abby Oliver added 13, Rachel Bilney chipped in 11 off the bench and the Spiders battled like crazy to stay within range throughout. Ultimately, however, it was Xavier's rebounding might (a 43-32 advantage on the boards) and superior ability to get to the free throw line (32 times, against just six trips for Richmond) that forced the Spiders to pack up and leave Upper Marlboro. In a way, the seeds for Richmond's early exit were planted in late January, when the wheels came off and they endured a baffling string of blowout losses that relegated them to an 8th seed and a "Draw of Death" quarterfinal against the powerful Musketeers. But the Spiders have played hard and reasonably well throughout the past three weeks, and while there's is no NCAA bid in their future, they are virtual locks for the WNIT.

Longwood Tournament

Longwood 67, North Carolina Central 43: Yet another example of how different a team the Lancers are at home versus on the road. Eight days ago in their regular-season finale, the Lancers fell by eight points to these same Lady Eagles in Durham. The victory boosted Longwood's record to 7-4 at Willet Hall, 2-15 everywhere else. Now comes the hard part - today's championship-game showdown with powerful Florida Gulf Coast. The Eagles, who defeated Seattle in this tournament's other first-round game, boast a 23-6 record and have already secured the Atlantic Sun's automatic bid to the WNIT. Florida Gulf Coast went 17-3 in A-Sun play but was ineligible for the league tournament since it is still in a reclassifying period for Division I. The Eagles were the 2007 Division II national runners-up.

She said it

"The other players on this team did not do the job that they needed to do. And Monica tried to make up for that. And unfortunately one person can't make up for all of the problems that we had."
- Virginia coach Debbie Ryan after the Cavaliers' 66-59 ACC Tournament loss to N.C. State that featured 32 points from Monica Wright and very little from anyone else.

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