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Richards Player of the Year, Abrahamson-Henderson Coach of the Year to Highlight America East Awards

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Richards Player of the Year, Abrahamson-Henderson Coach of the Year to Highlight America East Awards

ALBANY, N.Y. – Leading the Purple and Gold to a 15-1 record and league regular season championship, Shereesha Richards earned America East Player of the Year and UAlbany head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson was honored as America East Coach of the Year, announced by the league on Thursday.

Along with her Player of the Year honor, Richards was selected to the America East All-Conference First Team.  Megan Craig also earned a place on the All-Conference First Team, while Tammy Phillip was selected to the All-Conference Third Team.  All three were chosen on the America East All-Defensive Team.

In addition, Sarah Royals was placed on the America East All-Academic Team.

The America East all-conference awards were released at the annual basketball banquet on the campus of the University at Albany on Thursday night.

Shereesha Richards earns her second conference yearly honor after being the America East Co-Rookie of the Year last season.  The sophomore forward finished the regular season ranked first in the conference in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage, earning America East Player of the Week a league-record nine times.  Shooting 62.4% from the field to rank second in Division I, she enters the America East Tournament averaging 20.2 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.1 steals a game.  Richards set numerous UAlbany single season records this season, including scoring, field goals, consecutive double digit scoring games and points in a game with 41 vs. Vermont, leading the team with 13 double-doubles.

Coach Abe on Richards: “Shereesha is a fierce player, she brings that intensity to her team everyday, and it shows on the court.  She is a force to be reckoned with.”

Coach Abe earns the league Coach of the Year honor for the third season in a row after leading UAlbany to a second-consecutive America East regular season championship.  With Coach Abe at the helm, UAlbany increased its conference-winning streak to 38 games, the longest run in America East history, went 15-1 in-conference, including a perfect 8-0 road slate, and had a 16-game winning streak until Saturday.  The Great Danes won conference games by a scoring margin of +24.4, the second-highest mark in America East history.

Megan Craig is selected as an all-conference player for the second-consecutive season, getting 2012-13 Third Team honors.  The junior center and two-time conference Player of the Week stands second in the league with a 58.8% field goal percentage and 1.6 blocks per game, tallying 12.4 points and 5.9 rebounds a contest to position eighth in the America East in scoring and 13th in rebounding.  Craig has 17 double-digit scoring games and five double-doubles this season, led by a 33-point game against Northeastern.

Coach Abe on Craig: “Megan is a game changer.  Her presence on the floor, combined with her talent, is tough to match.”

Tammy Phillip will finish her collegiate career as an all-conference player after being second in the America East in rebounding with 8.4 boards a contest.  The senior guard has earned double-digit rebounds in 11 games, including eight America East contests, helping her to finish first in rebounding in conference competition with 9.7 a game.  She is in the top-10 in the league with 1.9 steals per game and a 43.1% field goal percentage, scoring 7.2 points a contest.

Coach Abe on Phillip: “Tammy is a rebounding weapon.  She loves to do the dirty work to help her teams succeed and is a very unselfish player and person.”

Sarah Royals led the conference in assists with 4.6 per game to total 133, just three away from the UAlbany single season record, and made free throws with 136, shooting 70.8% from the charity stripe.  She also stands in the top-15 in the America East with 11.4 points and 1.6 steals a contest. On the academic side, the junior is a double major in business and art.  She stands with a 3.54 GPA and has earned Dean’s List distinction three times.

Coach Abe on Royals: “Sarah is just a flat out competitor.  Her grit, toughness and fearless mentality continue to drive this team.”

The Great Danes will play its first game of the America East Tournament at the SEFCU Arena on Friday, taking on Binghamton at 6 p.m.

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