There will inevitably be nights when the Albany women’s basketball team needs junior Shereesha Richards to be anything and everything.
But all things are easier when the entire roster kicks in, and the Great Danes used a very democratic approach Friday night at home in the opening round of the WNIT, gliding past St. Francis-Brooklyn by a score of 90-47. Albany advances to the quarterfinals and will play at Penn State at 2 p.m. EST on Sunday.
Richards, the 2013-14 America East player of the year, more than held up her end by scoring 10 points and adding four rebounds in limited minutes. Albany, which was 28-5 last year and is looking for its fourth consecutive league title this season, was paced by sophomore guard Imani Tate, who had a career-high 22 points and nine rebounds, with guard Zakiya Saunders adding 13 points, four rebounds and six assists. Margarita Rosario scored 15 points.
The game got off to a groggy start on both sides, with Albany holding a modest 16-12 lead with about 10 minutes to go in the first half. The Great Danes then played to their strengths, getting points from all over the lineup and not wasting opportunities to build a lead. They took a 43-22 advantage into the break, with eight players scoring and the team hitting at a 60-percent clip from the field.
St. Francis-Brooklyn went the opposite direction, going just 5-for-21 from the field in the half. The Terriers did hit 9-of-10 free throws in the first 20 minutes, but Albany also controlled the boards (21-10 for the first half, 40-16 overall) and set the tone that would ring true the rest of the night.
The Terriers were led by senior forward Jaymee Veney, who scored 18 points. The Terriers will play Nov. 21 in the WNIT consolation round.