Richards 25 Points Leads UAlbany to Home Opening 77-61 Win over Western Michigan
ALBANY, N.Y. – A 25-point career day for Shereesha Richards led UAlbany to a 77-61 victory over Western Michigan in the home opener on Sunday.
“We had a great start to the game, as the team played hard and aggressive,” says coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson.
Richards went 12-16 from the field to earn her career-mark, adding nine rebounds and three steals. Megan Craig shot 6-9 for 12 points, helping UAlbany shoot 53.1% in the game.
“Shereesha played extremely well today,” says Abrahamson-Henderson. “She hustled and is an good, attacking player all around the court.”
UAlbany (2-0) attacked the paint in the opening minutes, hitting layups with Craig and Richards to take an early 4-0 lead. Western Michigan (1-1) took the lead with a 6-2 push, but UAlbany countered with four straight to take back the lead 8-6.
At 12-10 UAlbany, the Great Danes continued to go under the basket, with Richards scoring three baskets and Erin Coughlin netting a three in a 13-5 surge to lead 25-15.
AJ Johnson scored 13 of Western Michigan first 18 points, with Jessica Jessing scoring four in a row as the Broncos tried to get back, getting to within six 31-25 with 5:31 left in the first half. Stopping Western Michigan on defense, the Great Danes finished the half by scoring 10 of the final 14 points, led by five from Coughlin, to go into the break up 41-29.
The Great Danes shot over 55% in the first half, including six steals and with Richards having 14 points.
After some back and forth play in the second half beginning, a 9-0 run sparked by a Richards layup and continued by a pair of Craig layups put UAlbany up 54-35. After a Julia Henson three, twice in succession Sarah Royals found Tammy Phillip wide open underneath the basket for a layup, leading to a Western Michigan timeout and 58-38 advantage UAlbany.
The defense smothered Western Michigan for seven minutes, not allowing a field goal from the 13:42 mark to the 6:42 mark in the second half. Richards hit three layups in a row to begin an 11-0 burst to put UAlbany up 75-44 with 7:23 remaining.
Western Michigan made a late surge led by Miracle Woods constantly getting to the free throw line, but UAlbany’s large lead held as the Great Danes took the win 77-61.
For the Broncos, Woods finished with 19 points, including going 9-for-9 on free throws. Johnson finished with 15 after getting 13 in the first half.
UAlbany will host Marist on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the SEFCU Arena in a matchup of reigning conference champions.