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Lady Spiders Spin Web of History at UR

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Johnny Newman, the former University of Richmond standout and longtime National Basketball Association journeyman, now has company in the rafters at the Robins Center. The university honored the hall-of-fame careers of Karen Elsner Davey and Pam Bryant Jordan during a halftime ceremony Jan. 3.

They are the first women to join the tableau of UR's basketball history in the rafters, but when Davey and Jordan were considering colleges in the 1980s, the university wasn't high on their lists of top choices.

“Richmond wasn't even on the radar,” Davey says.

“I was initially kind of put off,” Jordan says of the Spider mascot.

Even so, both women were charmed by the campus and helped put the university's basketball program on the map.

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>Two seasons before Davey took the floor in 1981, the Spiders had spun a dismal record of 0-22. The Maryland native had been recruited to play at 150 other colleges, but she chose Richmond and received the university's full women's basketball scholarship. Her freshman season, the team flipped the record to 22-8, helping the Spiders move from the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women into the National Collegiate Athletic Association — the NCAA.

When the university inducted Davey into its Hall of Fame in 1992, she held records as the university's all-time leading scorer — 2,367 points — a record that, at the time, stood for both the men's and women's basketball programs. She also topped the women's all-time list for free throws, rebounds and points scored a single game, 39. 

After Davey graduated in 1985, Jordan joined the team for the 1986 season and helped supplant James Madison University as the Colonial Athletic Association's top team. She left UR as its third all-time leading scorer, third all-time with field goals made in a single game.

Joined by several former Spiders and coaches at the ceremony, Davey says, “it gave me chills.”

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