TIPPING OFF: Albany Great Danes get underdog win at NCAAs

March 19, 2016

The 12-5 upsets that have been common in the men's NCAA Tournament for years have trickled over to the women's side.

The Albany Great Danes became the fifth No. 12 seed in the past four years to upset a fifth-seeded team, upending Florida 61-59 for their first ever NCAA victory on Friday.

The Great Danes even survived an official scoring error that credited an extra point to Florida on a missed free throw. Even though the error was finally sorted out well after the game ended, the score stood.

NCAA rule 2-4.3 states: ''When all three officials leave the visual confines of the playing area at the end of the game, the officials' jurisdiction has ended and the score has been approved.''

Albany coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson told The Associated Press following the game that her coaches raised questions at halftime about whether Florida was given an extra point.

''We were saying it, and then nobody ever listens,'' Abrahamson-Henderson said. ''It doesn't matter, we won.''

While victories by 12 seeds aren't all that rare, the 14s and 15s are still looking for their first victory. The 14th-seeded Central Arkansas Sugar Bears were no match for Louisville. Nor was Buffalo, which fell to No. 3 seed Ohio State.

New Mexico State and Troy were both no match for second-seeded Arizona State and Oregon State.

So 14 and 15 seeds are now each 0-90 since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1994.


Two notable careers came to an end on Friday with Army and Kelsey Minato losing to Syracuse, and Jonquel Jones and George Washington falling to Kansas State. Minato kept alive her streak of consecutive games in double figures by just barely hitting two free throws with 10 seconds remaining to give her 10 points.

Though a season-low for Minato, the 10 points allowed her to extend her streak of scoring in double digits to 112 consecutive games.

Jones had 20 points, 13 rebound and six blocks for the Colonials. It just wasn't enough.



Maryland's campus is actually a familiar setting for Iona coach Billi Godsey, whose 15th-seeded Gaels play the first women's NCAA Tournament game in school history against the No. 2 seed Terrapins in their arena on Saturday.

Godsey was born in nearby Washington and grew up in Cheverly, Maryland.

She attended Maryland games. She said her younger sister even sang the national anthem a couple of times.

''Kind of a little bit of a homecoming,'' Godsey said, ''but on a different side of it.''



Washington junior guard Kelsey Plum is the No. 3 scorer in the country at 26.2 points per game, and to hear her coach tell it, she rarely makes a mistake.

''I think she's made two really bad decisions all year. Two,'' said Mike Neighbors, whose No. 7 seed Huskies take on No. 10 Penn on Saturday at College Park, Maryland. ''And based on how many decisions we ask her to make on a game-by-game basis ... you really grow to respect that over the course of 32 games.''

Penn is known for its 2-3 zone, but however the Quakers line up shouldn't matter much, according to Neighbors.

''We've seen,'' he said, ''pretty much every defense you can see.''



No matter how much of a grind the season seems or how long she has been doing this, Oklahoma women's coach Sherri Coale has no problem getting charged up for the NCAA Tournament.

Even after 17 straight years.

Asked Friday if enthusiasm changes every spring, Coale said, ''I just feel so old when you said that. There's always a sense of excitement. I've never sat in front of a TV for the selection show and not been excited.''

Coale's Sooners face Purdue for the third time in the tournament on Saturday in Lexington, Kentucky. Her first win over the Boilermakers came in 2000, when Oklahoma defeated the defending national champions in the second round on their home floor.

That might explain Coale's giddiness even after all this time.

''I was as excited as I was in 2000 when we went for the first time,'' said Coale, who will be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in June. ''There is a rush, and that's why we do it. ... Every team is different, every season has a lifetime of its own and ours gets to continue and it never gets old.''


AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich in College Park, Maryland and Gary Graves in Lexington, Kentucky contributed to this report.