SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The UAlbany women upset the Florida Gators in their NCAA Tournament matchup on Friday.
The Great Danes came back from a 15-point deficit to upset the fifth-seeded Gators. It’s the first tournament win the school has ever seen – men or women.
UAlbany trailed for most of the game, but there were a couple major turning points. The biggest came with 6:18 left in the game when star player Shereesha Richards drew her fifth foul.
It could have spelled disaster for the UAlbany women’s team watching its star, it’s senior, the heart and soul of the program walk over to the bench. But as soon as she sat down, her team stepped up.
“We just told her that we had her back,” player Zakiya Saunders said.
“She’s done so much for us, for this program, she’s done so much,” senior guard Erin Coughlin said. “And we just knew this was our way to repay her.”
With Richards on the bench, UAlbany turned what had been a 4-0 run into a 15-0 run. Junior guard Imani Tate put the Danes on her back with 11 of her 28 points coming in the fourth quarter.
“I had to step up,” she said. “Regardless of what big stage it was, I had to step up for Reese.”
But she wasn’t the only one. Down a point, freshman Heather Forster picked a good time to score her first points of the game.
“It’s kind of a joke to us, like, she’ll miss layups and stuff, so the layup that’s the most important layup,” head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said.
She made. And Tiana-Jo Carter, the sophomore forward, followed suit.
“I threw it up there,” she said. “I was praying to God to go up strong, and that it would go in, and it did. And we were, like, we gotta get back and play defense and we can do this.”
And they did.
“Unbelievable feeling,” Richards said. “I was in disbelief, and there was so much excitement knowing that my teammates did this for me.”
The Great Danes won 61-59.