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Albany falls to West Virginia 76-61 in NCAAs

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 23, 2014 at 6:29 pm •  Published: March 23, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Less than eight minutes had elapsed before 6-foot-9 Albany center Megan Craig was whistled for her second foul and substituted out of the Great Danes' first-round NCAA tournament game against West Virginia.

As Craig walked to the bench, Albany's chances went with her.

West Virginia, seeded second in the Louisville region, immediately erupted for a 16-2 run, and Albany never quite recovered in a 76-61 loss on Sunday.

"I'm very proud of my team," said Albany head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson, whose team was trying to become the first No. 15 seed to win an NCAA tournament game. "They completed and competed to the end and finished the game as fighters."

Craig finished with 23 points, not enough overcome the 33-11 deficit Albany had after the Mountaineers big first-half surge.

"I was just itching to get back out there as quick as I could," Craig said. "But I knew I couldn't afford to get into any more foul trouble, particularly in the first half. I just knew that I had to do whatever I could once I was able to get back into the game."

Albany leading scorer and America East Player of the Year Shereesha Richards also got into foul trouble and was limited to only nine points before fouling out with four minutes remaining in the game.

Sara Royals scored 14 points for Albany (28-5), which fell behind by as much as 22 for mounting a desperate comeback attempt.

Albany managed to cut the lead to 56-51 with less than seven minutes to go, but West Virginia immediately responded by scoring the next four points to push the lead back to 60-51, securing the victory and its berth in the second round.

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