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Sarah Royals leads U-Albany past Vermont by a 74-61 score...Story from the Great Danes sports department...

POSTED March 04, 2012
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

West Hartford, Conn. - Sarah Royals recorded a career high 21 points, hitting 14 of 18 free throw shots, to lead University at Albany to the America East semifinal round with a 74-61 victory over Vermont in Friday's quarterfinal match.

Royals ties a America East tourament record with free throws made (14) and sets a new record for free throw attempts (18). The freshman recorded 15 points, 10 of which came at the free throw line. Julie Forster recorded her eighth double-double of 18 rebounds and 13 points, while Lindsey Lowrie led the Great Danes in the first half with 14 points.

This quarterfinal match featured multiple lead changes and did not reach a scoring margin larger than ten points until the final minute.

With 2:13 remaining, the Great Danes held a 63-61 lead. Making it to the free throw line twelve times to finish the game, UAlbany missed only one shot. Forster and Ebone Henry each knocked in two, while Royals went 7-for-8 en route to the victory.

Vermont came out of the mid-game break with a 5-0 run to cut a UAlbany lead down to 36-34. Over the next several minutes both teams played close and it wasn't until after the second media timeout that UAlbany began to widen the scoring margin. The Catamounts would come within three points twice in the final minutes, but with less than two minutes to play, the Great Danes hit the foul line to pull away.

Going into the locker room, UAlbany led 36-29. Lowrie finished the half with 14 points, tied with Vermont's Niki Taylor, who lead the Catamounts in the first half.

Vermont (10-20) began the game with first possession and a 4-0 run. Going into the first media timeout, UAlbany had committed four turnovers and was shooting 25 percent from the floor. Lowrie finished off two treys in a minute to collect the Great Danes' first lead of the night at 12-9 with 14:32 on the clock. Vermont regained momentum to produce their biggest lead of the half at 18-12 just a few minutes later before Adrienne Jones swiped a steal at mid-court to make the lay-up at 8:46, to start a 16-4 run in a three minute span for UAlbany. The Great Danes managed a ten-point lead with 1:22 left in the half.

Taylor played a key role in the Catamounts efforts to stay in the game as she tallied a career-high 22 points to lead her team. Kayla Burchill and Ashley Hoyt each chipped in 15 points in the losing effort. Shanai Heber led on the boards as she grabbed ten.

UAlbany (21-9) will play in the second semifinal game Sunday afternoon against the Hartford/Binghamton

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