Hixson, Trpcic Lead Women’s Basketball Over Fairfield, 59-45
ALBANY, N.Y. – After losing two straight games on the road, the University at Albany women’s basketball program (4-5) returned home to host Fairfield (4-5, 1-1 MAAC) at SEFCU Arena looking to extend its undefeated home record this season. The Great Danes defeated the Stags 59-45.
“It’s really nice to get a win at home,” said head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee. “I think we came out right off the tip ready to play. We have a lot of weapons, and they’re going to keep developing as the season goes on.”
Senior Bailey Hixson opened up the game for UAlbany with a kick-out three pointer on the Danes’ second offensive possession. The Danes as a team opened the game on an 8-0 scoring run, forcing the Fairfield coach to call a timeout. The run continued after the timeout, reaching 13-0 before Fairfield scored its first point. By the end of the first quarter, UAlbany led 14-5, holding Fairfield to 8.3% shooting. Hixson had scored half of the Danes’ points through the first quarter.
Through the beginning of the second quarter, Fairfield slowly chipped away at UAlbany’s lead, bringing the game to within five before freshman Khepera Stokes hit a long jumper to slow Fairfield’s scoring run. By this time, junior forward Tiana-Jo Carter had eclipsed the 1,500 minute mark for her career.
The Great Danes pushed the lead back to 10 with just under five minutes remaining in the quarter. Hixson crossed the double digit mark in points with two minutes remaining before halftime on a kick out three from Carter. By halftime, the Great Danes led 28-14, and had held Fairfield to 16% shooting. Hixson led the way with 11 points and five rebounds. Freshman guard Mackenzie Trpcic had three assists. UAlbany ended the half with all three freshman guards, Trpcic, Stokes, and Kumsal Aslan, on the floor together.
With time winding down in the third quarter, Fairfield ripped off a 9-0 run in one minute and 20 seconds to cut the lead once more to five, forcing Coach Mac to call a timeout with 1:08 remaining. The Great Danes had not scored a field goal for over three minutes, shooting just one for their previous 10. After Fairfield cut it to two with 30 seconds remaining, Carter hit a put-back layup to give the Danes a 40-36 lead heading in to the fourth quarter. Fairfield had outscored UAlbany 22-12 in the third quarter.
Trpcic hit a three to start the fourth to extend UAlbany’s lead to seven, kicking off a 9-3 run for the Great Danes which opened up a 10-point lead. The closest Fairfield cut the UAlbany lead after that was six points. The final score was 59-45 in favor of the Great Danes.
Hixson and Trpcic each had a career night in scoring, with 17 and 13 points respectively. Hixson also had a career-high nine rebounds to lead the team, and Trpcic notched a career-high six assists.
“Bailey really worked hard in the offseason working on her three-point consistency,” said Coach Mac. “We’ve talked about her not being a one-dimensional player, but someone who can rip and go off the dribble, and I think she showed she can do both tonight. And the way she produced on the boards tonight was great.
“Mackenzie is a player who is going to continue to develop,” Coach Mac continued. “There are highs and lows as a freshman, but tonight she didn’t play like a freshman. She showed what she can do distributing the ball and also knocking down a shot when she has the opportunity.”
UAlbany out-scored Fairfield 22-18 in points in the paint, 19-14 in points off of turnovers, 16-12 in second chance points, 4-0 in fast break points. Fairfield held the advantage 16-10 in bench points.
Next, the Great Danes return to the road to visit Wagner College on Saturday, December 10. Tipoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.