ALBANY, N.Y. - La Salle erased an early 6-0 deficit and led by as many as nine late in the first half, but Albany pulled out an 81-76 decision at SEFCU Arena on Sunday afternoon. Brittany Wilson paced the Explorers with 17 points and three others added double figures.
Albany's Julie Forster led all scorers with 26 points and also pulled down 20 rebounds, nine of those on the offensive glass. Seventeen of her points came in the first half.
Forster got her first four points in the first 54 seconds and Ebone Henry added a layup as the home squad went up 6-0 early. The Explorers responded with a 10-0 run behind two-point jumpers from Payne and Duncan along with treys from Mosley and Wilson. The Great Danes then responded with a run of their own and regained the lead at 21-20 with 6:37 remaining before halftime.
The Explorers (1-1) once again had an answer as a Duncan layup sparked a 12-2 run to put the visitors up 32-23 at the 3:51 mark, with Duncan scoring five of her 11 points in that stretch. The Great Danes (2-0) responded in kind with a 12-2 run of their own to close out the half and edge the Explorers 35-34 going into the break.
The Great Danes never relinquished the lead in the second half, pushing it to as many as 12 when they took a 73-61 lead with 6:50 remaining. After shooting just 1-of-10 from three-point land in the first half, the home squad chucked in six treys in the second half. La Salle got within two possessions with 1:35 remaining as the Explorers shot 18-of-21 at the free throw line in the second stanza.
Two free throws from Ebonee Jones with 12 seconds remaining brought the Explorers within five points but Albany's Adrienne Jones iced the game with a layup. Ebonee Jones scored with two seconds remaining for the final 81-76 score.
The Explorers shot 43.6 percent (24-55) for the game as well as 81.5 percent (22-27) at the charity stripe, while the Great Danes shot 36.6 percent (26-71) and 75.9 percent (22-29) at the free throw line. The Explorers also outrebounded the Great Danes 46-39, but the home squad converted on second-chance points as they pulled down 18 offensive boards.
The Explorers return to action on Wednesday when they head to St. John's for a 7 p.m. contest.