NORTH ANDOVER, MA (NEWS10) — The Great Danes gradually gained a solid lead throughout three quarters until Merrimack caught up in the fourth. Holding true through a neck-and-neck final 10 minutes, UAlbany earned the game-one victory, Monday night.
COACH COLLEEN MULLEN: “I’m extremely proud of how the team battled tonight against a veteran, scrappy team in Merrimack. We made big plays and got key stops down the stretch. I couldn’t be happier with our team’s effort.”
- Graduate student Sarah Karpell led the Great Danes with 17 points, three assists, and two steals.
- Freshman Deja Evans led on the boards with six total rebounds.
- Senior Kayla Cooper and junior Lilly Phillips followed Karpell with 11 points each.
- Cooper held a team-high 60% accuracy from the field while both Karpell and junior Meghan Huerter went 2-3 from outside the arc.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Sarah Karpell scored the first points on the season with two successful free throw attempts.
- Three minutes into action, Merrimack tallied the first field goal but the Great Danes answered on the next possession as graduate student Helene Haegerstrand made a jumper in the paint.
- UAlbany continued what turned out to be eight consecutive points to gain a 10-2 lead with just under half of the first quarter left.
- The Warriors made up the difference with a couple of three-pointers as the first quarter ended in the Great Danes’ favor, 15-14.
- Lilly Phillips opened the second quarter with UAlbany’s first three-pointer of the season.
- Merrimack took a two-point lead but two consecutive three-pointers from Meghan Huerter returned the advantage to the Great Danes.
- It was a defensive show with only five baskets (free throws) made in the final five and half minutes of the first half.
- Coming back from halftime down 27-22, the Warriors quickly closed the gap with a three-pointer on their first possession.
- UAlbany gradually gained a nine-point lead, 38-29, with baskets from Phillips, Karpell, and Kayla Cooper.
- Play continued back and forth in the second half of the third quarter as the Great Danes held a 45-37 lead once the horn sounded.
- The Warriors closed the scoring gap with a 10-3 scoring run in the beginning of the final quarter.
- With just over two minutes remaining in the game, Merrimack put the game within one point, 52-51.
- A three-pointer from Karpell gave the Great Danes some breathing room but the Warriors did not stop fighting.
- A Cooper free throw put the point gap at three, 58-55, with just 13 seconds remaining.
- As one play remained a possibility, the UAlbany defense held strong and the attempted three-pointer was no good to secure the game-one win.
NEXT: The Great Danes will continue on the road as they visit Fordham for a Friday night contest (Nov. 10).