Richards' big 2nd half lifts Doves

The Baltimore Sun

Western came out flat in last night's game at City. The Doves missed their first six shots, scored only four points in the opening 12 minutes and trailed by nine at halftime.

But senior guard Akeema Richards then took command. She scored 11 consecutive points to spark the offense in the second half and finished with 21 to help No. 2 Western come back for a 51-48 victory over No. 4 City.

The win put Western (13-6, 7-0 league) in excellent position to get back to the city title game, which the Doves have won the past three years. They have a one-game lead in their division with three games left. City dropped to 17-3, 6-1.

Richards sparked a 27-10 Western run that turned a 12-point deficit into a five-point lead early in the fourth quarter.

"We came out ready to play in the second half," Richards said. "I wanted this, and I knew my teammates want this."

LaShay Taft (17 points) sparked City's offense as the Knights took a 28-19 halftime lead.

But the Doves were able to apply their full-court pressure and disrupt the Knights.

Richards scored 11 straight points from late in the third quarter until early in the fourth - her last six coming at the start of the final period to give the Doves a 46-41 lead with 6:15 left.

Western, though, didn't make another basket, and it connected on only five of its 10 free throws. Raiya McKnight's foul shot broke a tie at 48 with 3:12 remaining. Richards made one free throw two other times, the final point coming with 23.8 seconds left.

City had a chance to tie but missed four shots on its final possession.

"Their pressure was excellent, and we missed [too many] layups and free throws," Knights coach George Petrides said.

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