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Second Half Surge Sends UAlbany to 69-59 Win over Local Powerhouse Marist

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Second Half Surge Sends UAlbany to 69-59 Win over Local Powerhouse Marist

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ALBANY, N.Y. – In a matchup of the two-best mid-major teams in the Empire State, UAlbany came back from down at halftime to defeat Marist 69-59 at the SEFCU Arena on Thursday night. 

“We knew we were only down five at the break, with foul trouble,” says UAlbany head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson. “I just wanted to calm them down, and we made some adjustments that worked very well.”

With the win, #17-ranked mid-major UAlbany defeats the #3 mid-major Marist.

“This is probably our biggest non-conference victory ever here at UAlbany,” says Abrahamson-Henderson.

For the second consecutive game, Shereesha Richards earned a career-high in points with 28, shooting 10-12 from the field and 8-10 from the free throw line, and getting 15 rebounds, earning her second double double of the year.

“It feels good to get a great win,” says Richards. “It was a fight in myself to do my best, and I had a lot of good help from my teammates.”

Co-team captain Sarah Royals nearly earned a triple double in game, scoring 15 points with eight assists and a career-high eight rebounds and no turnovers.

“We constantly had to go to the high post in the game,” says Royals.  “We had to adjust a lot against a strong team in Marist, and we came out with a nice victory.”

Richards was a one-woman show for UAlbany (3-0) to begin the game, scoring the team’s first three baskets and one, with Megan Craig adding a layup to make it 9-2 in the opening three minutes.  UAlbany made six of its first eight baskets to induce a Marist timeout at 13-6.

Later, Richards added another pair of baskets near the 11-minute mark to put UAlbany up 21-13, but foul trouble forced her off the floor early.  Marist (0-2) countered by forcing pressure and hitting threes in a seven-minute period, hitting four-in-a-row behind the arc, including two by Leanne Ockenden, on a 20-4 run to take a 33-25 advantage with 2:32 left in the half.

UAlbany stopped the Marist attack with a Royals corner three and a Cassandra Edwards layup after an in-bounds pass in a span of 45 seconds to pull within three 33-30.  Marist added a couple of free throws before the break to lead 35-30 at the half.

Attacking the basket, a couple of layups brought UAlbany within a shot, followed by a Margarita Rosario wing three to tie the game at 37 a little more than two minutes into the half. 

The two sides traded baskets back-and-forth as at 45-45, a UAlbany 7-2 run, sparked behind the back dribble and fastbreak layup by Royals, put the home team up 52-47 with 12:14 remaining.  UAlbany added five more after a two-and-a-half minute scoring drought to take a 57-47 advantage.

UAlbany’s 2-3 zone defense kept Marist on the perimeter and away from the paint.  Up 59-53, the Great Danes held Marist without points for the next 5:36, building the lead to 65-53.  The home team held the rest of the way, not trailing by less than eight the rest of the way, finishing with a 69-59 victory.

Tammy Phillip also had career-highs in points with 11 and assists with five, adding six rebounds.  Craig finished with eight points off 4-8 shooting.

For Marist, Ockenden went 6-12 from the perimeter, finishing with 18 points, five assists and six rebounds.  Emma O’Connor concluded with 17 points off 7-15 shooting and five rebounds.

The Great Danes will rest up this weekend and host Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday, November 20th at the SEFCU Arena at 7 p.m.

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