TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — After a first half that saw 13 lead changes, the University at Albany women’s basketball team pulled away in the second half against third-seeded Maine to secure a 72-64 victory in the semifinals of the America East Tournament Sunday evening.
COACH COLLEEN MULLEN: “I am so proud of how this team executed a game plan and competed on both ends for 40 minutes against such a tough opponent in Maine. This team has faced so much adversity all season; they have shown a tremendous amount of resiliency and deserve the opportunity to compete for another championship. Today was a total team effort. Across the board, players made huge plays. A win like this takes every player to buy into their role, and this group has worked so hard to reach this point. I am so happy for this team.”
- Junior Kayla Cooper finished the game with a team-high 23 points and a game-high four assists.
- Graduate student Ellen Hahne and senior Helene Haegerstrand added 13 points each.
- Haegerstrand led on defense with seven rebounds while Cooper followed with five.
- Graduate student Lucia Decortes tallied the lone block and senior Grace Heeps made the only Great Dane steal
- As a team, UAlbany shot a season-high 61.7% from the field, besting its previous best of 56.5% at Dartmouth (12/6). The Great Danes added a 62.5% accuracy from outside the arc.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Both UAlbany and UMaine opened the contest with a strong defensive position.
- After three minutes with a point from the Great Danes, Kayla Cooper hit an and-one to give UAlbany a 5-4 lead at 6:07.
- After back-and-forth scoring that led to multiple lead changes, the game was tied at 16 at the close of the first quarter.
- Trading baskets to open the second, senior Fatima Lee grabbed a three-pointer to give the Great Danes a slight one-point edge with 6:13 remaining in the half.
- Scoring six unanswered points, Helene Haegerstrand gave UAlbany what proved to be the largest lead of the first half, 31-26, with just over two minutes to play in the quarter.
- Despite a tied score at 31, the Great Danes added two field goals to enter halftime with a 36-31 advantage.
- UAlbany opened the second half with a 5-0 scoring run to take the first double-digit lead of the contest at 8:17.
- Maine put together two scoring runs, including five unanswered points in the final minute, in the third quarter. The Great Danes held strong and entered the fourth quarter with a six-point lead, 55-49, after a buzzer-beating jumper from Lee.
- Coming out of the quarter break with a fire, the Black Bears allowed one basket before adding an 8-0 scoring run to tie the game at 57.
- Trading baskets for three minutes, it was a three-pointer from Ellen Hahne that gave the Great Danes the 68-64 lead at 2:26.
- In true UAlbany style, the Great Danes held their opponent to zero field goals in the final minutes of play as they extended their advantage with successful free throws.
- After just under three scoreless minutes for the Black Bears, UAlbany notched the 72-64 semifinal win to advance to the America East Championships.
NEXT: The Great Danes will head to Burlington to face the number one seed and co-regular season champion, Vermont, on Friday, March 10 in the America East Championship.