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Cavaliers bitten by Spiders in first loss

RICHMOND - Virginia women's basketball rolled into the Robins Center last night with hopes of improving its season record to 2-0, but found an aggressive Richmond team gunning for its first-ever win against the Cavaliers. Virginia fell, 77-72, and dropped to .500 on its young season despite a 26-point offensive effort by freshman Brandi Teamer.

The Cavaliers displayed their inexperience throughout the evening, missing crucial free throws and failing to adapt successfully to Richmond's motion offense.

"It was our defensive effort that got us into trouble," Virginia coach Debbie Ryan said. "They really read us well and scored when we lost assignments."

The Cavaliers opened the game with almost five minutes of shots that would not fall, a fitting prelude to a game in which Virginia created opportunities but could not finish them.

"We did a great job going to the boards, but we didn't finish our second shots," Ryan said.

Richmond jumped out to an early lead on a three-pointer by forward Cammy Desmond and continued to dominate outside the arc, hitting 6 of 11 three-pointers during the half and 10 of 19 for the game.

Teamer finally broke Virginia's dry spell with 15 minutes, 46 seconds left in the half with a three-point play and went on to score the Cavaliers' first eight points of the game. She wound up the game with 26 points and 13 rebounds, her first career double-double.

The Cavaliers also got help from Anna Crosswhite, who logged 13 points, and Anna Prillaman, who notched nine. Freshmen LaTonya Blue scored 13 points and Bethany LeSueur added nine, but it was not enough to top a sweet-shooting Richmond squad.

Virginia remained within striking distance throughout the second half but could not shut down the Spiders outside. The Spiders managed a 52.6 percent three-point shooting effort.

The Cavaliers repeatedly had players on the line for chances to tie the game as the second half wound down, but they were unable to capitalize. Virginia wound up 15-for-26 from the free-throw line for the evening.

With 3:49 left to play, Blue converted a shot to bring Virginia within three, but a defensive lapse left Richmond guard Elise Ryder open for a three-pointer that essentially put the game out of Virginia's reach. Virginia managed to string together 10 points in the final minute and a half, including four free throws by Crosswhite, but Richmond made six of its nine final free throws to close out the game.

Though Virginia may have an extremely young team, Teamer said she is not looking for any excuses for the Cavaliers' play last night.

"We can't feel sorry for ourselves and say 'Oh, we're just first-years,'" she said. "We need to play like we're upperclassmen."

"The good news is that we get to tip it off again tomorrow night," Ryan pointed out.

The Cavaliers return to Charlottesville tonight to do just that against Liberty at 7:30 p.m. in their home opener at University Hall.


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