Sports

Photograph courtesy Richmond Athletics

As the calendar turned from 2020 to 2021, Spider women’s basketball continued to turn a page in its recent program history, continuing its rebuild under second-year head coach Aaron Roussell. After a 3-1 start, which included wins over Navy and William & Mary, the team stood at 3-3 at the holiday break.

“I like it when there may be a gap between a player’s skill set and what we see as their ultimate potential,” Roussell said in the preseason. He was speaking about recruits, but he could well have been talking about the program as a whole.

Even during tough games, the team’s ultimate potential is peeking through. In the final matchup of 2020, a 54-65 loss to Howard, sophomore Elaina Chapman and freshman Siobhan Ryan each posted double-doubles. Freshman fly swatter Addie Budnik had six blocks, more in a game than any Spider since 2002 and tied for the third highest for a single game in program history.

For Roussell, the holiday break offered a chance to rest, regroup, and respond with renewed effort. “Hopefully, we come back after this break and look a lot closer to what we were to start the season,” he said.

As this issue went to press, the team was in the thick of the A-10 part of its schedule, an 18-game gauntlet that included some two-game weekends and three-game weeks.

“Whoever wins this league will have earned it,” Roussell said.