Richmond guard Kris King’s jump shot at the end of the first half put the Spiders ahead for the first time; the team didn’t trail for the rest of the game.
The game started with a quick turnover by the Spiders, which foreshadowed the first half, as they had nine total during the period.
Senior Rachael Bilney finished with the most points for the Spiders at 19, 13 of which came in the first half. Richmond’s Genevieve Okoro had a game-high 10 rebounds.
After the half Longwood started with the ball, but the Spiders quickly forced Longwood into a turnover.
Sophomore center Liz Brown gave Richmond more momentum by providing the team with its first points in the second half. This was immediately followed with a steal by Okoro, which she turned into two made free throws.
After adding to its lead, Richmond added a full-court press to increase pressure on the guards of Longwood.
The defensive strategy enabled a few turnover, one of which resulted in twins Rachael and Samantha Bilney getting out on a fast break and Rachael finishing with a layup.
Longwood started decreasing its deficit near the end of the game, but it was not enough to overcome the lead accumulated by the Spiders. The game resulted in a 71-61 win for Richmond.
Despite the rough start, Richmond found parts of the game it needs to work on this season.
“If we tighten up our defense, our offense will come with that,” Rachael Bilney said. “The first game will never be pretty, but it’s a win, and now we prepare for the next one.”
Richmond coach Michael Shafer said the come-from-behind win would be a learning experience.
“I told the team at the end of the game, even though we won 23 games last year, it’s hard to learn how to win again,” he said. “I think a lot of it is mental preparation.”
Freshman Lauren Tolson made her debut for Richmond with 21 minutes of playing time in which she scored three points and pulled down two rebounds.
“I think she scores really well and creates things very well.” Shafer said of Tolson. “As a freshman, you need to be thrown in the fire, but she has to learn by being out on the floor. She knows how to win, and I think that’s really good.”
The next game for the Spiders will be Monday at 7 p.m. against Miami (Fl.) in the Robins Center.
Contact reporter Amanda Minnitte at firstname.lastname@example.org