First-Place UAlbany Welcomes Vermont in America East Women's Basketball Action
THE STARTING FIVE1. The Game
UAlbany welcomes Vermont to SEFCU Arena for the seventh America East Conference game of the season. This is the 23rd meeting between the two teams in a series that dates back to the 2001-02 season. Vermont owns a 15-7 advantage in the all-time series, but UAlbany has won five straight over the Catamounts.
2. Scouting UAlbany
The Great Danes stand at 15-3 on the season with an unblemished 6-0 league record, after posting a 57-50 win over previously unbeaten Boston U. on Wednesday. UAlbany has now won seven straight, including six league games, and was defeating America East opponents by an average of 37.0 points before the overtime game against the Hawks. Two-time defending Defensive Player of the Year Ebone Henry has continued to show why she has earned that title, as she has recorded a team-high 56 steals - including eight against BU - while also scoring at a team-best 13.6 clip. Julie Forster, who broke the career rebounding record against Sam Houston and became the first player in school history to record 1,000 boards, is pulling down a team-best 8.7 caroms per game, while also chipping in with 8.8 points. Megan Craig and Lindsey Lowrie are also major contributors, adding 11.5 and 10.3 ppg, respectively.
3. Scouting Vermont
Annie Wheeler came off the bench to lead three Catamounts in double figures with a team-high 14 points as Vermont posted a 61-53 win over visiting Maine in America East women's basketball action at Patrick Gymnasium on Wednesday. Niki Taylor is averaging 11 points and 6.0 rebounds per game since conference play began. The sophomore forward has reached double figures in four of the last five games. Vermont was picked to finish fourth (with New Hampshire) in the America East Preseason Poll. It's the highest preseason ranking for UVM under head coach Lori Gear McBride, who enters her third season at Vermont.
4. Freshman Phenom
Freshman forward Shereesha Richards is not playing like the rookie she is, as she is averaging 8.6 points and 5.9 rebounds. Her point totals per game lead all freshmen players in the conference, while she is tied for first in rebounding. Richards has won the league's Rookie of the Week honor five times, which is also best in the league.
5. Best in the Books
The senior duo of Ebone Henry and Julie Forster have made indelible marks on the UAlbany women's basketball program. Henry is on track to become the all-time leading scorer in school history, needing just nine points to overtake a record that has stood for 27 years. With nine boards against UMBC, Forster became the first player in program history to record 1,000 rebounds. Forster is also just 54 points away from 1,000 points. Henry is also 5th in career rebounds (722) and is second in steals (285).