ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — When Stony Brook ruined Albany's bid for a second straight perfect season in America East conference play, the Great Danes simply filed the experience in the memory bank.
There would be no repeat — only a three-peat.
Shereesha Richards had 26 points, Sarah Royals added 19 points and eight assists, and top-seeded Albany beat second-seeded Stony Brook 70-46 on Monday to avenge that loss and win the America East title and the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
"We were not going to let that happen again," said Richards, selected the tournament's most outstanding player. "We're always up for revenge. That wrecked our perfect season."
It was the third straight America East tournament title for Albany (28-4), only the fourth team to accomplish the three-peat. Maine holds the record with four, ending in 1998.
"We worked hard to get to this championship game," Albany coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said. "I'm proud of them. I can't even tell you how proud I am."
Albany leads the series with Stony Brook 28-22, including nine of the past 10. But the Seawolves (24-8) took the previous game, a 66-56 win on Albany's home court at SEFCU Arena, and that snapped Albany's conference-record 38-game winning streak over two seasons.
"We lost a week ago. That was fresh on my mind," Royals said.
In the first game this season between the teams, Albany overcame an eight-point halftime deficit and won 66-51 on the road. Richards and 6-foot-9 center Megan Craig combined for 29 points and 17 rebounds and the Great Danes held the Seawolves to 30.9 percent shooting (17 of 55).
In the rematch a little more than a week ago, Stony Brook shot 44.9 percent and held Albany, the regular-season champion, to 35.4 percent as the Seawolves pounded the ball inside. They outscored the Great Danes 20-6 from the free throw line as Albany's "twin towers" — the 6-1 Richards and Craig — struggled with foul trouble.
Richards, the America East player of the year and the first player to lead the conference in scoring (20.1), rebounds (9.1) and shooting percentage (.624) in the same season, finished with nine points in the streak-ending loss, only the second time she failed to reach double figures this season.
The Great Danes weren't about to let that happen again. Richards scored 12 points, Tammy Phillip added 10 and Royals nine in a decisive first half as Albany held Sabre Proctor, Stony Brook's leading scorer, to two points while taking a 16-point lead at the break.