RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Chris Mooney’s 16th season at the helm of the Richmond Spiders may be his most successful.

Mooney returns all five starters from last year’s team, which won 24 games, finished second in the Atlantic 10, and was on the edge of making the NCAA Tournament before the pandemic hit.

“This year is very significant because there is a lot of work going on everywhere. On our campus, around the country, in the NCAA offices, all of those things,” Mooney said.

Jacob Gilyard, who led the Spiders in steals last year, is one of the major returnees.

“This year we are going to have to have the right mentality just to win games, no matter what,” Gilyard said.

The Spiders are doing their work in a brand-new practice facility, the Queally Athletics Center.

“We are able to have practice and guys are able to come in and shoot more, so aside from being shiny and new and pretty, it’s also extremely functional and gives the guys an extra bit of energy for practice each day,” Mooney said.

“We are just really honored and blessed to be able to have the opportunity to use this building,” senior Grant Golden said. “We are prepared for whatever comes our way.”

And they hope that includes the NCAAs after all.

“Some will ever get over it, but obviously there is a lot of bitterness and fire to sort of finish what we started last year and that is all the motivation we need this year,” Golden said.