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NCAA WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP - SIOUX FALLS REGION - 1ST ROUND - Carrier Dome - Syracuse, NY

Albany upsets Florida 61-59 in First Round

969 days ago
Associated Press
Photo: AP Images

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Imani Tate scored 28 points and Tiana-Jo Carter's put back with 8 seconds left helped seal the Albany Great Danes' 61-59 upset victory over the fifth-seeded Florida Gators in the first-round of the women's NCAA Tournament on Friday afternoon.

It's the first tournament win for the 12th-seeded Great Danes (28-4), who were making their fifth appearance. Albany overcame a 17-point deficit and played most of the game without their top scorer, Shereesha Richards, who was in foul trouble. Richards finished with 14 points in just 22 minutes, and fouled out with 6:18 remaining.

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

Eleanna Christinaki led Florida with 11 points.

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 while trying to grab a pass underneath from Tate.

Albany scored the next 11 points on a run capped by Carter's put back 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. Tate started it at the top of the key by hitting Carter in the left post. Carter drew a defender and immediately flipped the ball to Forster, who laid it in at the right post.

Christinaki scored with one second left on the clock, but the Gators never got the ball back. Florida hit just one field goal after Haley Lorenzen put the Gators up 57-46 with 7:49 left.

The Gators appeared in full control when they used a 23-2 run to build a 35-18 advantage with 1:14 left in the second quarter.

The run began once Richards went to the bench after picked up her second foul with 50 seconds left in the first quarter. She didn't return until there was 4:22 left in the second quarter, and Albany down 29-16. The Great Danes looked lost minus Richards, the program's first Division I All-American and three-time America East player of the year.

TIP-INS

Albany: Was 0-4, including a 54-52 loss to Duke last year, in its previous four tournament appearances. ... The Great Danes matched a school record for victories, which was set in 20-13-14, when they finished 28-5.

Florida: The Gators got off to a sloppy start, committing five turnovers on their first six possessions. ... Making their 15th tournament appearance, the Gators dropped to 9-6 in first-round games.

UP NEXT

Albany will face Syracuse or Army in second-round on Sunday.

Florida's season is over.