Bill Ziskin

Women's Basketball Rolls UMass Lowell 79-60

UAlbany Sports Information   02-01-2017

LOWELL, Mass. – The University at Albany women’s basketball team (12-10, 6-3 AE) opened the second cycle through the America East by visiting UMass Lowell (3-19, 0-9 AE) on Wednesday.  The Great Danes defeated the Riverhawks 79-60, marking the team’s second three-game winning streak of the season.

“We’re happy to get a win on the road,” said head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee.  “I liked that we were able to play a lot of different lineups, in the first half because of foul trouble and in the second half because of the lead, and it was nice to see our players who don’t see a lot of minutes get into the game and do some good things.”

The last time UAlbany played UMass Lowell, the Great Danes scored a season-high 93 points.  UAlbany struck quickly, with sophomore Heather Forster hitting a layup on an entry pass from senior Imani Tate just 15 seconds after the opening jump.  After trading baskets for the next three minutes, the Riverhawks took their first lead off a three-point play.

With 5:00 remaining in the first, redshirt-junior Bose Aiyalogbe tied the game at nine on a transition layup.  The Great Danes retook the lead after freshman Khepera Stokes hit a layup with just over three minutes remaining in the quarter.  A buzzer-beating three-pointer from Tate gave the Great Danes a 24-17 lead after one.

The Danes’ lead had extended to 12 with seven minutes remaining in the second.  For the remainder of the quarter, UAlbany’s scoring rate dropped off somewhat.  A quick six points with three minutes remaining brought the Riverhawks back within 10.  At the end of the half, the Great Danes led by 10, 42-32.

Redshirt-junior Jessica Féquière led UAlbany with nine points.  Four players, senior Bailey Hixson, freshman Mackenzie Trpcic, Forster, and Aiyalogbe each had two rebounds.  Stokes led the team with four assists.  Junior Tiana-Jo Carter had recorded two blocks in seven minutes of play, matching Forster for the team lead.  Tate had scored eight points in nine minutes.  As a team, the Great Danes were shooting 62.1% from the floor, including 8-12 in the second quarter.

UAlbany led UMass Lowell 26-12 in points in the paint, 14-13 in points off of turnovers, 8-0 in fast break points, and 8-5 in bench points.  The Riverhawks held a 7-5 advantage in second chance points.

The third quarter started in exactly the same way as the first, with Tate assisting Forster on a layup within the first 15 seconds of play.  Forster recorded her third block of the game with 7:30 remaining.  Féquière hit a three with five minutes left to give UAlbany a 20-point lead.  The Danes had opened the quarter on a 12-2 run through the first 5:21. 

Freshman and Lowell native Alexi Schecter entered the game for the first time with 3:20 remaining in the third, accompanied by what was, by far, the loudest cheering of the evening.  She missed her first shot, but grabbed her own rebound and drew a foul on the subsequent layup attempt, after which she hit both free-throws.  After three quarters, UAlbany led 68-42, having outscored UMass Lowell 26-10 in the third.

The fourth quarter started off slowly, with just nine points scored between the two teams in the first 5:13.  Scoring increased pace after the media timeout, with 11 points scored in the following two and a half minutes.

When redshirt-senior Aubrey Hernandez entered the game with 2:13 remaining, it marked the first time all season that every player on the roster recorded minutes in the same game.    The Great Danes went on to win by a score of 79-60.

Féquière led the team with 17 points, followed by Tate with 14 and Hixson with 11.  Féquière also led with seven rebounds, and Stokes led with six assists.  The Great Danes led the Riverhawks 47-26 in points in the paint, 34-17 in points off of turnovers, 14-10 in second chance points, and 19-0 in fast break points.  UMass Lowell held a one-point, 21-20 advantage in bench points.

“I think Stokes, at the one, is growing with every game,” said Coach Mac.  “Today she had six assists and one turnover, so it’s really impressive to see her continue to grow with every game as a freshman point guard.”

The Great Danes now have their second three-game winning streak of the season, and are two games over .500.

“I think the players on the team are starting to enjoy each other,” said Coach Mac.  “On the sidelines and off the court they’re really supporting one another, and that translates to them playing for one another during games.  It’s been a fun thing, to see everyone talking and laughing during pregame meals.  I think they’re really appreciating one another and enjoying each other on the sidelines and off the floor, so when they go to compete they have each other’s backs.”

Next, the Great Danes will visit Stony Brook for their second consecutive road game on Saturday, February 4.  Tipoff is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.  A quick turnaround will see the women hosting New Hampshire at SEFCU Arena on Monday, February 6 at 7:00 p.m.




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