TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The University of Maine has been a thorn in the sides of Colleen Mullen and the University at Albany women’s basketball team. Coach Mullen entered Saturday night’s home tilt with the Black Bears 1-11 against the rival program during her tenure at UAlbany. But the Great Danes would not be denied on Senior Night; they erased a five-point deficit with under five minutes to play, securing a 53-50 victory to stay atop the America East Conference.
COACH COLLEEN MULLEN: “Maine is such a dangerous team. They have a terrific inside presence in Smith along with their ability to score in bunches with their three-point shooting ability. I am so proud of the way our players dug in down the stretch and came up with huge defensive stops in the last three minutes. I am so happy for our seniors and proud of the contributions they have made to our program.”
- Junior Kayla Cooper led the team with 19 points and 11 rebounds for her 12th career double-double, sixth of the season and second in a row.
- Shooting a team-high 7-13, including a game-high three three-pointers, senior Helene Haegerstrand followed with 17 points.
- Haegerstrand and Cooper each tallied a game-high three assists.
- A force in the paint, graduate student Ellen Hahne led with two steals and one block.
- Graduate student Lucia Decortes tied Hahne with one block.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Maine coined the first two baskets of the game after grabbing an early 4-0 lead.
- UAlbany responded as senior Fatima Lee took a pass from Helene Haegerstrand for a buzzer-beating layup to start a 6-0 scoring run.
- In the final four minutes of the first, UAlbany furthered their lead to take a 10-6 lead into the second quarter.
- In a defensive start to the quarter, the Great Danes held a 15-8 lead at 6:05.
- The Black Bears shifted momentum and scored eight unanswered points to take the lead with 3:57 remaining in the half.
- Once again, the tides turned and UAlbany outscored Maine, 10-3, to enter halftime with a six-point lead, 25-19.
- Coming out of the break, the Black Bears went 7-2 to cut the lead to one, 27-26, in over two minutes of play.
- After trading points, Maine tied the game at 34 near the midway point of the third.
- As the back-and-forth action continued, the Black Bears finished the quarter with a one-possession lead, 40-38.
- As the Great Danes attempted to maintain a high level of energy, Maine continued with a slight advantage through much of the final quarter.
- A three-pointer from Haegerstrand with just over three minutes to go changed the feel of the arena before Kayla Cooper notched a layup that gave UAlbany a 49-48 lead.
- After Cooper added a three-point play, the Great Danes held a multi-possession advantage with under two minutes to play.
- In the final 10 seconds of the game, the UAlbany defense came up huge when forcing a turnover and regaining possession with six seconds on the clock.
- After holding off the Black Bears for the final six seconds, the Great Danes took home the 53-50 victory, Saturday night.
NEXT: The Great Danes will take Wednesday off while preparing for their final regular-season contest at NJIT (Feb. 25).