UAlbany Women Fall To North Carolina, 59-54, In NCAA Tournament
UAlbany women's basketball enjoyed unprecedented success this season, including an perfect season in America East play and an NCAA Tournament berth. It nearly culminated in a historic upset, but the 14th seeded Great Danes fell to 3 seed North Carolina in today's NCAA Tournament first round game.
No 14 seed has ever defeated a 3 seed in the women's tournament, something UAlbany was looking to change right from the opening tip, as they fought their way out to an early lead in the first half, holding onto said lead until the waning moments of the game, when North Carolina took the lead and held it until the final buzzer.
The Tar Heels needed a superhuman performance from guard Tierra Ruffin-Pratt to come away with the win, as she dropped 30 of UNC's 59 points, including three three pointers that helped bring North Carolina back into a game they trailed by eight for a chunk of the second half.
For UAlbany, Megan Craig, Lindsay Lowrie and Ebone Henry were all in double figures with 12, 11 and 11 points, respectively. They brought the fight to the Tar Heels, forcing North Carolina to play their slowed down, defensively oriented style of basketball for the majority of the contest.
However, in the game's final minutes, it looked like the Great Danes ran out of gas, as they allowed a number of offensive rebounds which led to North Carolina points, including three offensive boards in the Tar Heels' final possession, which let them run the clock down and eventually hit the two free throws that made it a two possession game, putting the contest out of reach.
UAlbany finishes their season at an impressive 27-4 and can say that they came within minutes of pulling an upset that nobody in the history of women's college basketball has pulled off. They lose seniors Ebone Henry, Julie Forster, Keyana Williams, and Lindsay Lowrie heading into next year, but will surely be among the favorites in the America East next season.