Royals Scores Season-High 16 Points in Homecoming at Hartford

Photo: Sarah Royals (above) scored a season-high 16 points. 

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – The University at Albany defeated the University of Hartford, 69-55, to take the home-and-home season sweep and continue their undefeated streak in conference. Sophomore Sarah Royals, a native of Torrington, Conn., led the Great Danes with a season-high 16 points, including a 4-6 performance from three-point range. With the victory, UAlbany clinched the No. 1 seed for the 2013 America East Tournament. 

The game opened up with both teams exchanging three’s. The first 15 points were all from behind the arc, as Hartford led 9-6 with 15:38 in the first. Guard’s Lindsey Lowrie and Royals each connected for the early UAlbany buckets.

Both teams were physical as the game went scoreless for nearly six minutes. From there, the Great Danes took control – going on an 11-2 run and taking the lead back at the 6:13 mark. Excluding free throws, the Hawks were held without a made basket for close to ten minutes.

Hartford (17-9, 8-5) again tightened things up, led by sophomore Amber Beko’s ten first half points. However, Royals continued her display from three-point land. She closed the half with two three’s including a one-handed, underhand shot, that swished as the first half buzzer sounded. UAlbany (12-0, 21-3) took a 33-25 lead into the locker room.

"Sarah [Royals] is a stud. She is tough, griddy, competitive, everything I love in a player," said coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson. "She stepped up and hit the three well today." 

The Great Danes opened the second half surging.  By the 16 minute mark, UAlbany had went on a 14-4 run to open up a 47-29 lead. During the span, senior Ebone Henry scored five straight points, first hitting a three, then getting the steal on the next procession and taking it in herself for the layup.

The Great Danes continued to break open the game to final buzzer. Back-to-back three’s by senior Julie Forster and Lowrie gave the purple-and-gold a 62-41 lead with nine minutes remaining. UAlbany then cruised for the double-digit victory.

Behind Royals, Forster recorded a double-double, 14 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore Margarita Rosario and freshman Shereesha Richards each had 10 points. As a team, the Great Danes shot 53.7 percent (22-41) from the field and outrebounded the Hawks, 35-23. 

The Great Danes will be back at SEFCU Arena on Thursday, Feb. 21.  They host America East foe and No. 2 seeded Boston U. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.