WBB wins over UMBC to stay atop conference
By Seth Finkelstein
Feb. 24, 2015
The Unversity at Albany women’s basketball team won their fourth game in a row as they handled University of Maryland, Baltimore County 84-68 Wednesday night at SEFCU Arena.
The game pitted the top two scorers in the America East against each other. Second leading scorer Capree Garner of UMBC was averaging 17.7 points per game, while Shereesha Richards of UAlbany was averaging 21.8 points per game to top the conference. These two teams met in Baltimore on Jan. 22, and UAlbany won by a score of 72-62.
UAlbany got out to an early 10-2 lead and never looked back. From the onset both teams were playing very aggressively and intense. UMBC was trying to take away Richards by double-teaming and even triple teaming her in the paint.
“We did the best we could on Richards tonight,” UMBC coach Phil Stern said. “We tried some different things, they worked for a little bit and eventually she’s gonna get hers. She’s just tremendous.”
UAlbany led 23-10 with 8:45 left in the first half and it looked like the rout would be on. But in the ensuing minute Richards picked up two fouls in a span of 25 seconds, which sent her to the bench. UAlbany’s offense looked stagnant and only managed to score 10 points in the last eight minutes with Richards off the floor.
“It didn’t help with her in foul trouble. You see how our team is when she’s in foul trouble. It’s pretty tough,” UAlbany coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said.
UAlbany took a 33-25 lead into the break, but UMBC went four of 12 from the free throw line. That would come back to haunt them.
In the second half the offense was back to normal with Richards back on the court. UMBC was protecting the paint so heavily, that it left UAlbany shooters with open jumpers all night. The Great Danes kept trying to feed Richards, Saunders, and Tiana-Jo Carter.
“It’s really hard if we were
going to shoot the ball really quick, ” Abrahamson-Henderson said after the game. “Even though people are off us, we’re still passing and passing and passing and running the set, and getting the shot we want out of it. I think it’s frustrating for people who watch us because everybody wants us to jack up threes but we never win that way. Ever.”
When UAlbany did take the open foul line jumpers, Imani Tate was knocking them down.
“I just don’t step outside the three, that’s just not my range so I just stay inside,” Tate said.
Tate was also a much-needed spark off the bench tonight scoring 16 points with 11 of those coming in the second half. She also dished out five assists to go along with grabbing six rebounds.
“I thought Imani did a great job stepping up. I love Imani coming off the bench.” Abrahamson-Henderson said.
UAlbany was never able to run away with the game as UMBC was lurking throughout but UAlbany just kept playing a hard defense.
UAlbany held on to win and stay in a tie for first place in the America East with Maine. UAlbany was extremely efficient for the game, shooting 55.4 percent from the field and going 22 of 29 from the charity stripe. UMBC shot just 42 percent from the field but only made 18 foul shots on 32 attempts.
“You just can’t miss 14 foul shots against them,” Stern said.
Star player Richards secured her 10th double- double of the season, finishing with 27 points and 11 rebounds. The second leading scorer in the conference, Garner, finished with 23 points on 9 of 16 shooting.
After falling to Stony Brook 68-64 on Sunday, the Great Danes will head to Hartford on Thursday night before hosting Vermont for Senior Day on Sunday, Mar. 1 at 2 p.m to close out the regular season.