PHILADELPHIA - The Explorers rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit against Richmond and were within two with just over a minute remaining, but couldn’t take the lead, falling 69-65 to the Spiders.
Senior Ashley Gale and freshman Jess Koci each added 18 points, which was a career-high for Koci.
The Spiders scored the game’s first seven points and built a 14-2 lead by the first media time out at 15:42.
Gale cut the Richmond lead to 36-30 with an open trey from the corner with four minutes remaining in the first half. Richmond then went on a 9-3 run to lead 45-33 at the break.
The Blue and Gold trailed by more than ten points for the first ten minutes of the second half before beginning their comeback.
Junior Nadia Duncan and Koci each connected on a pair of free throws on consecutive La Salle possessions to cut the score to 59-52 with 10:29 to play in the game.
Koci registered a steal on the other end of the court and passed the ball to Scott, who missed a jumper. Koci snared the rebound and drove to the basket for a score, cutting the Richmond lead to five.
The Explorers would be within one, the closest all game, at 59-58 after Koci again converted on a pair from the charity stripe with 7:52 remaining.
Richmond would score the contest’s next five points, but the Explorers hung in the game.
With just over a minute to play, Gale was fouled beyond the arc and hit two of her three shots to put La Salle within two at 67-65.
The Explorers got a defensive stop on the other end of the court and freshman Michea Bryant took the ball down on a fastbreak and missed a layup, but the Explorers retained possession after Richmond knocked it out of bounds with 18 seconds to play.
Scott drove to the hoop after the inbounds play and was fouled on the way up as her shot just rimmed out. She missed both free throws and the Explorers couldn’t corral the rebound after the last shot.
Shells came up with the rebound and was fouled immediately by Gale with fourteen seconds left.
Shells hit both free throws to push the score to 69-65 and seal the game for the Spiders.
For Richmond, Oliver had a game-high 20 points, while Crystal Goring added a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds.
The Explorers shot .369 on the evening and outrebounded the Spiders, 39-36
The La Salle Athletic Department honored seniors Chelsea Conner and Gale is a ceremony prior to the game.
The Explorers will play their final regular season game when they travel to Amherst, Ma. For a 2:00 p.m. meeting with Massachusetts on Saturday.