Saturday, March 5, 2011

Richmond falls to Charlotte in A-10 quarters

Atlantic 10 quarterfinals

No. 5 Charlotte 68, No. 4 Richmond 63: The previous two times the Spiders played Charlotte, the 49ers prevailed by dominating late. This time it was Richmond that finished strong; the Spiders just left  themselves too much ground to make up. Up 24-21 midway through the second half, the 49ers took off on a 14-0 run that resigned Richmond to an ultimately futile game of catch-up. The Spiders almost made it, as they cut a 15-point deficit to 3 with less than four minutes to go before Charlotte made just enough plays to hang on. Richmond's Big Three delivered as expected - Brittani Shells finished with 23 points and 5 steals for the Spiders, Abby Oliver added 15 points and Crystal Goring chipped in 13 points and 11 rebounds. But when you have three players accounting for 51 of your 63 points, well, ask the Miami Heat about the pitfalls of that kind of distribution against quality foes. Whatever the case, the loss obviously ended Richmond's longshot dream of landing an NCAA Tournament bid - the Spiders likely needed to win the tournament to get one of those. But Richmond remains a solid WNIT team and, with a decent draw, have the tools for a strong run in that event.

Richmond's loss leaves the state's teams with an 0-3 mark in conference tournaments so far - Virginia Tech and Virginia also went one-and-done in the ACC tourney. The odds are much greater for postseason success next week, though, as James Madison (CAA), Hampton (MEAC) and Liberty (Big South) are all No. 1 seeds and defending tournament champions.

Other A-10 quarterfinal results
No. 1 Xavier 71, No. 8 St. Joseph's 55
No. 2 Temple 75, No. 7 St. Bonaventure 56
No. 6 Dayton 74, No. 3 Duquesne 66

Sunday's semifinals
No.1 Xavier vs. No. 5 Charlotte, noon
No. 2 Temple vs. No. 6 Dayton, 2:30 p.m.

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