Strong Play in the Paint Leads UAlbany Past Binghamton 77-59 to Advance to America East Semifinals
ALBANY, N.Y. – Imani Tate and Shereesha Richards led the way in the paint as the UAlbany women’s basketball team defeated Binghamton 77-59 on Friday night to advance to the America East semifinal round.
UAlbany (26-4) will take on the winner of Hartford-Maine on Sunday at 11 a.m. at the SEFCU Arena.
“It was a good fight today,” said UAlbany head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson. “We wanted to make sure we held them to our defensive goal, and we did that.”
The Great Danes dominated in the post, scoring 50 points in the paint and outrebounding Binghamton (5-25) 44-24 in the contest.
Tate had a career-high 18 points for UAlbany, nearing getting a double-double off the bench with nine boards and four assists. Richards also nearly had a double-double with 18 points and eight rebounds.
“I knew I had to make them guard me to free up [Shereesha Richards] and [Megan Craig], and we worked on that in practice,” said Tate.
With eight assists, Sarah Royals set a new UAlbany single season assists record with 141 this year, surpassing Donna Hughes’s record of 136. She also shot 5-7 for 12 points.
“It feels good to get the record, and when Imani [Tate] and Shereesha [Richards} are hitting their shots, it makes my job easy,” said Royals. “Binghamton is a great team with good senior leaders, but we made adjustments and focused on our defense.”
For Binghamton, Sherae Swinson led all players with 21 points, adding five boards. Morgan Murphy had 13 points and seven rebounds.
Swinson helped Binghamton get the early lead with a couple of field goals, pushing the visitors up 7-4.
Led by Tammy Phillip hitting shots and crashing the boards, UAlbany surged forward with an 11-0 run to take a 15-7 lead with 12:30 in the first.
The two sides went back-and-forth, with each side finding shots in the paint. Tate hit four-straight UAlbany baskets, including a one hander in the post. Her fourth basket sparked a 6-0 run, capped by two Richards layups.
That Tate basket was assisted by Royals for her fourth of the game, setting the new UAlbany single season record in assists. Royals added a jumper with 10 seconds left in the first to send UAlbany into the locker room up 47-27.
Binghamton started out strong in the second half, with Stephanie Jensen hitting a couple from long range to finish an 8-0 run and bring the Bearcats to be down 47-35.
Tate put the team on her shoulders, getting to the basket and hitting shots off the glass, putting UAlbany’s lead back to 14 at 54-40 with 13:05 remaining.
The two teams continued to exchange baskets as UAlbany continued to lead by double digits. The Bearcats pulled to within 10 with help from a personal 4-0 run from Kandace Lowry with six minutes remaining. A counter 9-2 run, with four different UAlbany players scoring in that time, allowed the Great Danes to pull away. UAlbany took the victory 77-59.