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Women’s Basketball edges Stony Brook

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By Aaron Cheris 

Sports Editor

sports.asp@gmail.com

Jan. 20, 2015

Photo by UAlbany Athletics Sarah Royals had seven assists in UAlbany's win over Stony Brook.
Photo by UAlbany Athletics
Sarah Royals had seven assists in UAlbany’s win over Stony Brook.

After winning the 2014 America East Championship game, the University at Albany women’s basketball team looked for a similar result in a rematch against the rival Stony Brook University Seawolves.

The Great Danes got the result they were looking for, as they held off a late Stony Brook comeback to defeat the visiting Seawolves 69-59 on Monday night at SEFCU Arena.

“We knew that they were a comeback team,” UAlbany (12-6, 5-0 America East) head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said of Stony Brook (9-9, 2-3 America East). “Could we have won by more? Yes, we have to pay attention to detail.”

The Great Danes got off to a quick start, as sophomore Zakiya Saunders got the game’s first points in the opening minute. Shortly after, Sarah Royals found Sheeresha Richards under the basket for an open layup to extend the UAlbany lead. Later in the half, Imani Tate got a steal, and ran the length of the court before passing to Saunders for an open layup. Tate and Saunders finished with 14 points each.

With seven assists in the game, Royals extended her program record to 396 career assists. “It’s the plays that we run and the people that I pass it to,” Royals said of her assists. “I just happened to get the assist on a lot of them tonight.”

As the first half was running down, UAlbany extended its lead with jumpers from Richards and Margarita Rosario. Freshman Tiana-Jo Carter made a layup while getting fouled, but she couldn’t make the free throw to convert the three-point play. Ultimately, the Great Danes took a 36-24 lead into halftime.

In the second half, it looked like the Great Danes were going to turn the game into a rout. On one possession, UAlbany got four points on one trip down the court as Royals made a two-point jumper as Richards was fouled under the basket. Richards made both free throws to complete a rare four-point possession. Halfway through the second half, the Great Danes lead was 20, their largest lead of the night.

But the Seawolves weren’t going down without a fight. A three pointer by Jessica Ogunnorin and multiple three pointers by Christa Scognamiglio eventually trimmed the UAlbany lead to seven points. “We had to guard them as a three-point shooting team, which they are not at all,” coach Abrahamson-Henderson said of the Seawolves, who finished 8-18 from three-point range.

As time was winding down, Richards caught a pass from a teammate before turning and scoring a basket to extend the UAlbany lead to nine. Richards finished with 21 points and seven rebounds to lead all players in both categories.

As Stony Brook made three pointers, UAlbany kept with its game plan, which didn’t involve shooting three pointers. The Great Danes forced 23 Stony Brook turnovers on the defensive end. “That’s a great team statistic and a testament to our coaches who’ve been working on the press with us,” Royals said of the turnovers.

With just a minute left in the game, Rosario drained a three-pointer for the Great Danes, the only one of UAlbany’s three three-pointers to go in. Rosario’s three ended any hope of a Stony Brook comeback.

UAlbany and Stony Brook will play again this season, with the rematch on Sunday, Feb. 22 on Long Island.

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