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Maine hands WBB first conference loss

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By Aaron Cheris

Sports Editor 

sports.asp@gmail.com

Feb. 3, 2015

Photo from UAlbany Athletics.  Maine had a strong second half and beat UAlbany on Sunday.
Photo from UAlbany Athletics.
Maine used strong defense to beat UAlbany on Sunday.

   Over the past few years, the University at Albany women’s basketball team has dominated the America East, winning the past three conference championships.

   Earlier this season, the Great Danes edged the University of Maine 49-43 in Bangor, M.E. on Jan. 3.

   In the rematch at SEFCU Arena on Sunday, Maine was able to hand UAlbany a rare America East Conference loss by the score of 52-44 in a battle for first place in the conference.

   For UAlbany, reigning America East player of the year Shereesha Richards was held to just 15 points on 11 field goals.    

   “It’s cliché, you can’t stop her, you can only hope to contain her and we did that tonight,” Maine head coach Richard Barron said of Richards.

   The first half started slowly, as neither team scored for the first few minutes of the game. Eventually, UAlbany was able to get the first points as sophomore Imani Tate made a jumper off an inbounds pass exactly four minutes into the game. After senior Sarah Royals made a couple free throws, the Black Bears took control of the game.

   Chantel Charles made a three pointer from the corner to Maine (16-6, 8-1 America East) its first lead of the game. Charles made a layup to keep the Black Bears in front. They stayed in front when Sigi Koizar made a three pointer of her own. UAlbany (15-7, 8-1 America East) fought back as Tiana-Jo Carter got an offensive rebound and scored to keep the Great Danes close. As the first half wound down, Richards got a rare open look and converted a layup while getting fouled to tie the score at 16. After Richards missed the free throw, the teams went into the locker room tied at 16.

   “We had to figure it out in the first half,” UAlbany head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said of Maine’s defense. “It was not a very exciting game to watch.”

   Maine started the second half on a run, as Charles made a three pointer early to give Maine a lead. On the next possession, Charles grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to send the Black Bears bench to its feet. The visitors had more to cheer about as Anna Heise made consecutive layups to give the Black Bears their biggest lead of the day at nine points.

   Throughout the game, Richards was double and triple-teamed by Maine, forcing her to take tough shots and not score. “In the second half, we didn’t get Shereesha the ball enough,” Abrahamson-Henderson said. With Richards not getting the ball as much as her coach would have liked, UAlbany shot a dismal 25 percent (14-56) from the field for the game.

   As the game wound down, Maine converted free throws while UAlbany missed wild three pointers. The Great Danes finished 0-10 from three-point range.

   The Black Bears were led by 17 points and six rebounds from Sigi Koizar and 16 points from Charles. For UAlbany, Imani Tate and Sarah Royals each had 10 points.

   After playing at New Hampshire on Wednesday night, UAlbany returns home for the Big Purple Growl against UMass Lowell on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 5 p.m.

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