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Florida women stunned by No. 12 seed Albany

Albany guard Zakiya Saunders, left, keeps the ball from Florida guard January Miller in the first half. “We weren’t us in the second half,” Florida coach Amanda Butler said.

Associated Press

Albany guard Zakiya Saunders, left, keeps the ball from Florida guard January Miller in the first half. “We weren’t us in the second half,” Florida coach Amanda Butler said.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Imani Tate and the Albany Great Danes would not let senior Shereesha Richards' record-setting career end while sitting on the bench.

And not even an official's scoring error that provided the Florida Gators an extra point was going to stop them.

Tate had 28 points and Tiana-Jo Carter's putback with 8 seconds left helped seal the Albany Great Danes' 61-59 upset victory over the fifth-seeded Gators on Friday in the first-round of the women's NCAA Tournament.

In a game featuring numerous twists, the final score wasn't officially announced until some three hours after the buzzer. The NCAA acknowledged a scorer counted a missed free throw as a point, but ruled that the incorrect score will stand because it was not fixed during the game.

Though the score will stand as 61-59, the official box score will reflect the Gators with 58.

What can't be taken away is the 12th-seeded Great Danes (28-4) earning their first tournament win in their fifth appearance. Albany overcame a 17-point deficit and played most of the game without top scorer Richards who was in foul trouble. Richards scored 14 points in 22 minutes, and fouled out with 6:18 left.

"'Rees' has done so much for us every game that she plays. We just knew that we had to finally do something for her," guard Erin Coughlin said. "We had to give her another game in a UAlbany uniform."

Richards was unhappy over fouling out, but then became enthralled in watching the Great Danes mount their comeback.

"There were a lot of emotions, I'm not going to lie," Richards said.

Albany trailed by 11 with 7:49 remaining. The Great Danes responded by outscoring Florida 15-2 down the stretch.

The Gators (22-9) unraveled down the stretch in being outscored 19-7 over the final quarter.

Eleanna Christinaki led Florida with 11 points. Ronnie Williams had 10 points and seven rebounds.

"Their best player fouls out, the rest of them are going to step up. And that's what they did," Williams said. "We didn't play our style of play."

Florida hit 6 of 30 field-goal attempts in the second half.

"We weren't us in the second half," Gators coach Amanda Butler said. "In these biggest moments, you've got to be yourselves. We didn't do a good job."

Trailing 57-50, the Great Danes didn't back down after Richards picked up her fifth foul for hooking the arm of Florida guard Carlie Needles. Albany scored the next 11, capped by Carter's putback of Zakiya Saunders' miss.

The Great Danes went ahead for good on Heather Forster's basket to cap a great three-way passing play with 1:39 left.

The Gators used a 23-2 run to build a 35-18 advantage with 1:14 left in the second quarter — including a bonus point. Florida's January Miller was credited with a made free throw to complete a 3-point play with 6:31 left in the second quarter. But she missed the free throw. The scorer gave Florida credit for a make.

No. 4 Syracuse 73, No. 13 Army 56: Alexis Peterson scored 24 as the host Orange (26-7) tied a program record for wins. The Black Knights (29-3) had a 19-game winning streak snapped. Army senior guard Kelsey Minato's career ended a few weeks after she became the school's first active player — man or woman — to have their jersey retired. Army's all-time leading scorer finished with 10 points.

No. 3 Ohio State 88, No. 14 Buffalo 69: Kelsey Mitchell scored 27 as the host Buckeyes (25-7) cruised. The Bulls (20-14) took an early five-point lead but soon were swamped.

No. 6 W. Virginia 74, No. 11 Princeton 65: Bria Holmes scored 26 as the Mountaineers (25-9) overcame a sluggish start in Columbus, Ohio. Annie Tarakchian had 20 points and 10 rebounds to pace Princeton (23-6), which got the Ivy League's first ever at-large bid in the women's tournament.

No. 7 Tenn. 59, No. 10 Green Bay 53: Te'a Cooper scored 15 and Diamond DeShields added 14 points as the Vols pulled away in the final six minutes in Tempe, Ariz. Tennessee (20-13) used a 10-0 run to take control in the final minutes after trailing Green Bay (28-5) much of the game.

No. 2 Arizona St. 74, No. 15 New Mexico St. 52: Katie Hempen opened the game with two 3-pointers and made all six of her attempts on her way to 20 points for the host Sun Devils (26-6). The Aggies (26-5) struggled with ASU's pressure, finishing with 21 turnovers that led to 26 points for Arizona State.

No. 1 S. Carolina 77, No. 16 Jacksonville 41: Alaina Coates had 22 points and 10 rebounds and A'ja Wilson had 15 points and 11 rebounds as the host Gamecocks (32-1) made Jacksonville's tournament debut a short one. The Dolphins (22-11) were the Atlantic Sun Conference champions who came in with an eight-game winning streak.

No. 9 Kansas State 56, No. 8 G. Washington 51: Megan Daines scored 11 of her 14 in the second half including the go-ahead foul shot as the Wildcats (19-12) rallied in Columbia, S.C. KSU used a 14-5 burst in the third quarter including her foul shot for Kansas State's first lead of the game, 39-38, with 37 seconds left in the third quarter against George Washington (26-7).

Dallas Region

No. 3 Louisville 87, No. 14 C. Arkansas 60: Myisha Hines-Allen scored 25 to help the host Cardinals (26-7), who took the lead for good with a 17-0 run in the second quarter. Central Arkansas (28-4) saw a nine-game winning streak end.

No. 6 DePaul 97, No. 11 James Madison 67: The Blue Demons (26-8) made 11 3-pointers during their rout in Louisville. Jessica January led DePaul with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Ashley Perez led James Madison (27-6) with 20 points as the Dukes saw a 20-game winning streak end.

No. 1 Baylor 89, No. 16 Idaho 59: Alexis Jones scored 23 points in her first NCAA Tournament game with Baylor as the host Bears (34-1) rolled to their 21st consecutive win. Ali Forde scored 17 to lead Idaho (24-10).

No. 2 Oregon St. 73, No. 15 Troy 31: Ruth Hamblin had 18 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks as the host Beavers (29-4) won easily. Kristen Emerson had nine points, eight rebounds and four blocks for the Trojans (20-13).

No. 10 St. Bonaventure 65, No. 7 Oklahoma St. 54: Katie Healy had 23 points and three steals to lead the Bonnies (24-7) to the upset in Corvallis, Ore. Brittney Martin had 23 points and 13 rebounds for Oklahoma State (21-10).

No. 9 Auburn 68, No. 8 St. John's 57: Janiah McKay scored 24 for Auburn (20-12), which led 25-6 early in the second quarter in Waco, Texas. Danaejah Grant had 25 points to lead St. John's (23-10).

Bridgeport Region

No. 4 Michigan St. 74, No. 13 Belmont 60: Aerial Powers scored 27 and Jasmine Hines added 24 points for the Spartans (25-8), who pulled away in the fourth quarter in Starkville, Miss. Frankie Jourban's 17 points led Belmont (24-9).

No. 5 Mississippi St. 60, No. 12 Chattanooga 50: Victoria Vivians scored 19 and Chinwe Okorie added 12 points for the host Bulldogs (27-7), who pushed ahead thanks to an 18-5 run in the second quarter. Jasmine Joyner's 17 points led Chattanooga (24-8).

Florida women stunned by No. 12 seed Albany 03/18/16 [Last modified: Friday, March 18, 2016 10:40pm]
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