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Richards dominates as WBB downs Binghamton

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By Aaron Cheris

Sports Editor 

sports.asp@gmail.com

Feb. 17, 2015

UAlbany’s strong defense held Binghamton to just 15 points in the first half. Photo by Aaron Cheris
UAlbany’s strong defense held Binghamton to just 15 points in the first half. Photo by Aaron Cheris

   Shereesha Richards is very good at basketball. Just ask any opposing coach who has tried to beat her.

   “It’s always the strategy to try and stop her,” first-year Binghamton University head coach Linda Cimino said of Richards. “But it’s impossible. She’s the best player in the conference. She works really hard. You know what she’s going to do, you scout around her, and you still can’t stop her.”

   Cimino and her Bearcats (4-22, 2-11 America East) couldn’t do anything to stop Richards and the University at Albany (18-7, 11-1 America East) on Wednesday afternoon, as the Great Danes rolled to a 75-53 win at SEFCU Arena.

   Leading the way for UAlbany was Richards, who finished with a game high 35 points. “She’s just impossible to guard. Our scout guys hate guarding her in practice,” UAlbany head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said.

   Abrahamson-Henderson was also quick to praise the rest of her team. “[Richards] is good, but she’s got really good teammates too that get her the ball. They’re unselfish,” she said. “It doesn’t matter who is scoring, just as long as we’re scoring.”

   Playing on their home floor, the Great Danes got off to a quick start. Early in the game, sophomore Zakiya Saunders found Richards alone for a layup to open the scoring. Saunders finished with a game high seven assists for UAlbany.

   On their next possession, the Bearcats got a three pointer from Kim Albrecht to give them an early 3-2 lead. That would be their only lead of the afternoon. Later in the half, UAlbany went on a 13-0 run started by Tiana-Jo Carter’s offensive rebound and put back layup. Richards finished the run with another layup before Binghamton would strike again.

   Also in the first half, Richards appeared to get hit in the eye while going for a rebound. Following a brief check of her eye, Richards stepped up her game. “After she got hit in her eye, she just got really turned up,” Abrahamson-Henderson said.

  However, Richards wasn’t going to let a bruise on her eye affect the rest of her game. “I take things personal,” Richards said. “If you’re going to hurt one of my teammates or hurt me, it’s personal. Then I’m just going to shove it down your throat, simple as that.”

   A first half dominated by UAlbany ended with the visiting Bearcats trailing 34-15 at the break.

   The second half was more of the same for both sides as the Great Danes quickly answered every Bearcats basket. For UAlbany, the second half was a chance to empty the bench. All 10 Great Danes on the active roster each grabbed a rebound and eight of the 10 scored.

   Binghamton was led by Albrecht’s 17 points and 16 each by Sherae Swinson and Jasmine Sina. For UAlbany, Imani Tate led with 12 rebounds and Carter, a freshman, added 12 points.

   The game was a rare weekday matinee for the 9th Annual Commitment to Education Day. The crowd of 1,925 was mostly local schoolchildren and teachers from the Albany area. “It was awesome. I wish we could do that often,” Abrahamson-Henderson said of the crowd. “It’s a fun atmosphere for them. They get to see something different. Some of them may never know that this close, they could come and do something fun. It’s really awesome to see.”

   Prior to the game, the children toured the UAlbany athletic complex and got the chance to play on inflatable toys inside SEFCU Arena. During the game, teachers shot free throws, kids ran relay races, and everyone sang along to the SpongeBob SquarePants theme song during a timeout.

   After a week off, UAlbany will host UMBC on Wed, Feb. 18 at SEFCU Arena at 7 p.m.

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