UAlbany Women’s Basketball Scores 46 Points in the Paint, Bounces Back with 62-50 Win at Fairfield
FAIRFIELD, Conn. – A late 15-4 run into the fourth quarter and 25 points from Shereesha Richards fueled the UAlbany women’s basketball team to a 62-50 road victory over Fairfield on Wednesday night.
UAlbany (6-2) was up 40-37 over Fairfield (3-4) with 3:38 left in the third quarter after the home team cut the deficit from 10 to three. UAlbany built the lead to double digits before the end of the quarter off scoring from four different players and did not trail by below 10 the rest of the way.
“I think we did a good job considering we are down and injured. Everyone stepped up, especially the newcomers that had to play today,” said UAlbany coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson. “We switched up our defenses; in the first half we were excellent in our presses, and in the second half we got off our press and just tried to guard them a little better.
UAlbany scored 46 of its 62 points in the paint and outrebounded its opponent 31-21. The Great Danes shot 57.4% from the field.
Richards earned her third consecutive 25+ point night. She shot 11-16 from the field and finished with 25 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals. With 1,850 career points, she moved into 11th place all-time in scoring in America East history.
“We definitely needed this win. We came out with fire and ready to go because we lost our last game,” said Richards. “We just had to come out with energy and do what we do best.”
Imani Tate concluded with 16 points, her eighth time in as many games scoring in double digits this season, with six rebounds and three steals. Heather Forster netted a career-high 11 points off the bench with four rebounds.
For Fairfield, Casey Smith led the team in scoring with 13 points and three assists. Kristin Schatzlein shot 4-8 from three-point range to tally 12 points.
UAlbany looked down low for its opening possessions, but did not have the offense hitting shots early against the Fairfield frontcourt defenders. A Schatzlein wing three-pointer sealed a 6-2 Fairfield streak to put the home team up 8-4 in the first five minutes.
The UAlbany defense started forcing turnovers with the full court press in the final minutes of the first. With Fairfield committing three turnovers in the final two minutes, UAlbany put together a 7-0 run from three different scorers to take a 13-10 lead going into the next period.
The run increased as Zakiya Saunders found Richards underneath the basket on a no-look pass for the layup, then Richards drew the attention for a pass and score by Forster to complete the run at 11-0.
The two sides exchanged baskets, with Fairfield hitting a couple of threes. UAlbany kept up its press, leading to Fairfield turnovers at the halfcourt line. With Richards scoring UAlbany’s final three baskets of the half, UAlbany took a 29-23 lead into the locker room.
The lead went to double digits as Tate and Richards each hit layups to start the third. Fairfield countered with an 8-2 run, including a pair of three-point baskets from Samantha Cooper, to pull within four at 35-31 at just over three minutes gone in the third.
UAlbany rebuilt the lead to eight off another pair of layups from Richards and Tate, and again Fairfield pulled closer with a couple of baskets. The score stood at 40-37 UAlbany with 3:38 left in the 3rd.
Richards again took control in the next couple of plays, drawing the double for the layup to Forster, then using the give and go to score her own layup. After a layup by Smith, Erin Coughlin hit the wing three, with Tate adding a layup in transition from Richards to end the quarter with a 9-2 spurt. UAlbany led 49-39 after three quarters.
Tate and Forster each took the flag in the fourth quarter offensively. With Tate hitting layups down the baseline, UAlbany built the lead to 14 at 57-43 with 5:29 left. As UAlbany went to a halfcourt defense, Forster got some key points and rebounds to keep UAlbany’s lead in double digits. UAlbany took the win 62-50 over the Stags.
UAlbany will return to the Capital District and prepare its defense of the Albany Cup, taking on Siena at the Times Union Center on Saturday, December 12th at 5 p.m.