So nice they did it twice, Lady Danes beat Hartford 61-52 to advance to NCAA tournament for second straight season
-From Wire Reports
Saturday March 16 saw the University at Albany collect two America East Championships in basketball in less than 12 hours, making it the sixth time in America East history in which both the men’s and women’s programs from the same school have won basketball titles in the same season . After the men upset Vermont earlier in the afternoon, the Lady Danes took care of business downing Hartford 61-52 on their home court to advance to the NCAA tournament for the second straight season.
Megan Craig led the way, scoring 16 points and grabbing 7 rebounds. Lindsey Lowrie pitched in 12 points and 4 rebounds, while Julie Forster added 10 points and 6 boards. Lowrie opened the game for the Lady Danes scoring the first five points, helping the Danes build a 5-2 lead. After a quick run by Hartford put the Hawks up 8-5, the Great Danes then went on a 10-0 run to regain the lead 18-5.
With 6:22 to play, Shereesha Richards and Julie Fortser extended the UAlbany advantage to eight following back to back Hartford baskets, before the Hawks Daphne Elliott drained a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 5.
After the Elliott trey, Hartford went on a 7-2 run to grab the lead 26-25 with less than a minute to go, a lead which they would take into halftime. Coming out of the half, both teams exchanged free throws before UAlbany took a 32-31 lead on back to back baskets by Richards and Craig. However, Hartford would respond yet again with another Elliott 3-pointer to put the Hawks back in front. Ebone Henry scored her first points of the contest at the 9:24 mark, which combined with another Richards layup, tied the game at 40.
The Danes then took their first lead of the second half on a Henry runner, but Hartford would not go quietly. The Danes built a 46-40 lead on free throws by Lowrie and a basket by Craig, before the Hawks clawed their way back to tie the game at 52 with 1:39 to play. Sarah Royals gave the Great Danes the lead back with a layup with just over a minute to go, a lead which they would not relinquish as they nailed down the victory from the foul line to secure the 61-52 win.
The Lady Danes are the fourth team in America East history and the first since Maine in 1996 to go un-defeated in the America East during the regular season and then win the conference title. The Danes are also the eighth team in league history to win back to back titles, and the fourth team to win both the regular season and tournament titles in the same season since 2001-02.
The Danes now await their NCAA seeding which will be announced tonight during the ESPN Selection Show.