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WBB starts Big Purple Growl with blowout win

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By Seth Finkelstein

Contributing Writer

[email protected]

Feb. 11, 2015

The U.S. Army helped open the Big Purple Growl. Photo by Aaron Cheris
The U.S. Army helped open the Big Purple Growl. Photo by Aaron Cheris


   The University at Albany women’s basketball team won its second game in a row as they rolled past UMass Lowell 93-57 on Saturday night as part of the Big Purple Growl. UAlbany improved to 10-1 in America East conference play and 17-7 overall.

   UAlbany got off to a slow start as they only led 13-9 with 11:35 to go in the first half. Both teams were playing a 2-3 zone and feeling one another out. UAlbany’s star player, Shereesha Richards, got off to a rocky start as she started off the game 0-3 from the field. Once Richards got going, UAlbany blew the game open.

   “After we figured out how they were going to guard Shereesha, and what play we were going to run to get her the ball” UAlbany head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said of the slow start. “So it just takes a while, everybody wants us to score right away from the beginning. But it takes a while to see how they’re going to double her, once we get her the ball everything opens up so that’s kind of what we like to do. So the first four minutes is kind of slow.”

   The Great Danes went on a 33-12 run to close the half and take a 46-21 lead into halftime. UAlbany dominated the paint in the first half, outscoring UMass Lowell 28-0. UMass-Lowell did not make a two-point field goal in the first half.

    “Well [Richards] had 31 points, that’s where she scores, that’s the game. [Zakiya Saunders] is really good at making and seeing good passes to Shereesha because now people have to come out and guard [Zakiya] a little bit farther but not off her and staying on her,” Coach Abe said. “So I’m always trying to find a way to get [Zakiya] and her on the same side or opposite side depending on where they’re doubling from.”

UMass Lowell continued to double and even triple Richards into the second half, but still could not find any way to stop her.

    “I just do the same thing every game, I try to get it if it’s there if it’s not there I kick it out and hopefully things work out that somebody else scores,” Richards said.

   UAlbany’s defense stifled UMass Lowell all game. The River Hawks were held to 29 percent shooting in the first half was under constant pressure all game, UAlbany’s defense forced them into a lot of terrible shots. They continually played a full court trap and forced UMass Lowell to turn the ball over 26 times.

   According to Coach Abe, the full court trap, “wears everybody out, their best two players who didn’t do a lot tonight had to handle the ball so much, 13 and 23, [Samuels and McRoy] are really good payers for them. They’re seniors, they average 15 points a game and we held them, we did a good job tonight.”    

   Samuels was held to seven points and McRoy was held to eight. Coach Abe added, “This is because they were worn out, we were pressing them. And then it’s really hard to make threes when you’re tired, when your legs are tired. That’s really kind of our bread and butter when it comes to the press.”

   Saunders finished the game with a double-double as she scored 10 points with 10 assists. “I didn’t realize it out at all,” said Saunders about how many assists she had in the game.

   Richards finished the game with a team high 31 points to go along with seven rebounds and two assists. Richards has now scored in double figures every game this season. She also made UAlbany history as she has now moved into second on the all time scoring list.

    “Overall I thought it was a great team effort because everybody scored,” Coach Abe said of her team, as all 10 Great Danes who played got points. “Everybody had assists, steals, turnovers, so it was awesome.”

   UAlbany will look to continue their winning ways as they take on the Binghamton Bearcats at SEFCU Arena, on Wednesday, Feb. 11 at Noon.

UAlbany's bench frequently had reasons to cheer on Saturday night. Photo by Aaron Cheris
UAlbany’s bench frequently had reasons to cheer on Saturday night. Photo by Aaron Cheris

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