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After Historic UAlbany Basketball Career, Shereesha Richards Sets Sights on WNBA

The senior forward is a projected 1st or 2nd round pick in tomorrow’s WNBA Draft

Shereesha Richards is projected to be drafted in tomorrow’s WNBA draft. She is UAlbany’s all-time leading basketball scorer. (Photo provided by UAlbany Athletics)

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 13, 2016) – The University at Albany women’s basketball team may never see another player like Shereesha Richards.

A senior sociology major, from Rae Town, Jamaica, Richards has spent the last four years leading a dynasty at the SEFCU Arena. Since her arrival, the Great Danes have dominated, winning four consecutive America East Championships. The program also made history this March, grabbing its first NCAA Tournament victory in an upset over No. 5 seeded Florida.

Individually, Richards is UAlbany’s all-time leading basketball scorer (men’s or women’s), a three-time conference player of the year, and the program’s first-ever Division I All-American. She also holds team records in more than 20 statistical categories.

Yet, what’s next may be the most impressive of all.

Richards wants to play professionally, and according to most projections, the feeling could be mutual. She’s expected to be chosen in the first or second round in tomorrow’s WNBA draft. If it happens, Richards will be the first player in UAlbany basketball history to be selected.

In early April, she took the first step, being selected for the 2016 Pro-Select Games at the Indianapolis Combine. Richards was one of 40 players to compete in front of talent evaluators from the WNBA and European professional leagues.

“I never really thought it [playing in the WNBA] was possible,” Richards said. “Each year I just kept developing my game, and would see progression, but it is still hard to believe that playing at the highest level is a reality for me.”

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The UAlbany women’s basketball team has celebrated four consecutive America East championships since Shereesha Richards’ arrival in 2012. (Photo by Paul Miller)   

Even harder to believe is Richard’s background in the sport. Growing up in Jamaica, she was a netball player and ran track. It wasn’t until she was 16 years old, when her mother sent her to Atlantic Christian School in Egg Harbor Township, N.J., that Richards first picked up a basketball. She quickly excelled, scoring 1,147 points on the school’s varsity team, and caught the attention of former UAlbany women’s basketball coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson (Coach Abe).

Coach Abe, along with the rest of her coaching staff, immediately saw potential in Richards, believing she had the raw talent to play pro. From her freshman year, they pushed the 6’1 forward to elevate her game in every aspect, from perfecting the jump shot, to driving to the basket, and everything in between.

“She’s the best player I’ve ever coached,” said Coach Abe, in an interview with the Associated Press. “She’s the best in terms of talent, in terms of work ethic. When she’s injured, she’s never out. You would never know. She’s never been out. It’s crazy. I’ve been around all-Americans in my days, and I have never met anybody like her.”

Richard’s historic career at UAlbany technically concluded in March, however, the team is still behind her. She was back on the court at SEFCU Arena three days after the Great Danes’ second round NCAA Tournament loss to Syracuse. Teammates, including Erin Coughlin, Zakiya Sanders, and Jessica Féquière, have been working to keep her in shape. If Richards is drafted, she will report to training camp on April 24.

“I have such a strong support system at UAlbany,” Richards said. “My coaches and my teammates have just as much belief in me, as I have in myself, I could not have reached this level without them behind me.”

The 2016 WNBA Draft will be televised live from Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 14. The first round can be seen on ESPN 2, with ESPNU providing coverage for rounds 2-3, starting at 8 p.m. The entire draft will also be available through WatchESPN.

To learn more about Richards accomplishments, visit her official bio page. Stay up-to-date on all things UAlbany athletics at www.ualbanysports.com.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.