ALBANY, N.Y. — The University at Albany dominated after halftime, limiting the University of Maine to 35 percent shooting to pull away for an 84-56 America East women’s basketball victory Saturday afternoon at SEFCU Arena.
Defending league champion Albany broke the game open with a decisive 12-0 run during a four-minute span and then pulled away.
The Great Danes (14-3, 4-0 AE) posted their fifth consecutive victory while coach Richard Barron’s Black Bears (9-9, 3-2 AE) had their three-game winning streak snapped.
Sarah Royals spearheaded a balanced Albany offense with 23 points on 8-for-9 floor shooting and 7-for-11 accuracy from the foul line. She also made four steals.
Shereesha Richards logged a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Imani Tate provided 13 points and five rebounds and Margarita Rosario added 11 points and five assists.
UMaine was paced by senior guard Ashleigh Roberts, who connected for 22 points, including 14 in the second half. In doing so, she moved into 16th place on UMaine’s career scoring list with 1,054 points.
Sophomore Lauren Bodine tallied nine points, Cherrish Wallace contributed seven points and four assists, and Sigi Koizar chipped in with a team-high six rebounds, three points and three assists with no turnovers.
The Great Danes shot 57 percent (34-for-60) from the field and outrebounded the Bears 38-25. Albany outscored UMaine 44-14 in the paint and came up with 23 points after turnovers and 16 second-chance points.
It was a tight contest at halftime, with Albany leading 30-26.
The hosts made sure that trend did not continue for much longer.
First, the Great Danes used a 7-0 run while moving out to a 37-28 lead. Shortly thereafter, they ended the suspense.
Up 39-32 after a Koizar layup with 14:52 remaining, Albany embarked on a game-changing 12-0 surge.
Erin Coughlin opened the run with a jumper, then hit a 3-pointer 19 seconds later. Tate extended the advantage to 14 with a layup after a turnover, then Royals made a steal that resulted in her conventional three-point play.
Tate’s layup at the 10:50 mark gave Albany a 51-32 advantage.
During a span of less than four minutes, UMaine went 0-for-4 from the floor and committed two turnovers.
The Bears weren’t able to recover after that.
UMaine heads back on the road for Thursday’s 7 p.m. game against America East newcomer UMass Lowell.