The Lady Raiders wrapped up the first part of the season this week in style, winning the Holiday in the Pines Tournament, and defeating area rival Pinecrest in the process.
With the pair of victories in the Pinecrest tournament, Richmond finishes the first part of the season at 7-2.
But the meat of the season lies ahead — including a grueling Southeastern Conference campaign that begins at home in Jaunary when the Lady Raiders host Hoke.
Before the conference season begins, the Lady Raiders will travel to Cheraw for a nonconference contest Jan. 4.
There will be some practice sessions over the winter break, according to Richmond head coach Nellie Harrington.
On the agenda for those sessions, Harrington said, will be continued work on free-throw shooting and taking care of the basketball.
“We’re missing too many free throws, and we are committing too many turnovers,” Harrington said.
Both those situations could harm the Lady Raiders’ chances of winning the SEC title this season.
On a positive note, after tinkering with her lineup and trying a number of different combinations, Harrington has settled on a starting lineup. Tiara Elllerbe will be the point guard; Demi Watkins will play the shooting guard spot; Malaysia Bloomfield will be the small forward; I’Teionna McLaughlin is the power forward; and Taylor Diggs will be the center.
Guard Alexis Galbreath is the team’s “sixth man,” and will be the first player off the bench. She can play either guard position, and can switch over to play the point if Ellerbe needs a break or gets into foul trouble
Diggs, a junior 6-footer, combines with freshman Jade Evans to give the Lady Raiders a pair of true “bigs” — something Richmond hasn’t had in quite awhile.
Diggs, in fact, has been one of the season’s pleasant surprises for the Lady Raiders, developing into a good offensive and defensive player.
Harrington is pleased with her team’s progress so far in 2010-11. But she knows there’s a lot of basketball left to be played down the stretch.
“We have to keep working to get better,” Harrington said. “We cant afford to relax.”