Albany, N.Y. - Julie Forster recorded a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead UAlbany to its second straight win with a 53-41 victory over UMBC in America East Conference women's basketball action on Wednesday evening at SEFCU Arena. The Great Danes improved to 8-7 on the season and 2-0 in league play.
After almost three full minutes of scoreless action to start the game, UAlbany took the first lead of the game on a single free throw by Adrienne Jones followed by a Forster jumper. UMBC responded with a layup by Kristin Coles, but the UAlbany offense would not be stopped, and the Great Danes built up a 10-point advantage, 21-11, on a basket by Forster with 5:49 on the clock. Michelle Kurowski, who finished with 10 points for UMBC, nailed a 3-pointer on the next possession to spark the Retriever offense, but the Great Danes got free throws from Forster and Sarah Royals to hold onto a seven point lead, 23-16, at the half.
UAlbany came out of the locker room firing, building up a 15-point lead, 33-18, on four straight baskets, including two 3-pointers, by Ebone Henry to start the second half. After the 12-minute media timeout, Royals hit a free throw to complete a conventional 3-point play, giving the Great Danes their largest lead of the game, 40-22. UMBC, using a high-pressure full-court press, got a 3-pointer by Kurowski and a jumper by Brittany Crowell at 7:13 to cut the lead back to 11. Henry, who went 5-of-6 from the free throw line, nailed two shots from the charity stripe after Jones dropped in one, to hold onto a 14-point advantage.
The Retrievers continued to use a suffocating defense on UAlbany, forcing several turnovers in the final minutes of play, and got a 3-pointer by Crowell with 4:44 on the clock to cut the Great Dane lead back to single digits, 47-38. The UAlbany offense proved to be too much, however, as 6-foot-8 center Megan Craig hit a jumper in the lane to put the Great Danes back up by 11. Crowell attempted to spark one last late rally for UMBC with a trey from the right side of the arc, but Henry and Royals went 3-for-4 from the charity stripe in the final minute to hold onto the final 12-point victory.
"I am very excited for our team," said UAlbany head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson, who has now led the Great Danes to victories over teams picked to finish first and second in the America East preseason poll. "We played a very tough preseason schedule to prepare for our conference season. If we had played a weaker schedule, we would not have been ready to play these teams. All those games prepared us for now. We did great without our starting point guard - Sarah Royals and Lindsey Lowrie have really stepped up, and Megan [Craig] was key in both of these last games."
Crowell finished with a team-high 15 points for UMBC (7-8, AE 1-1), while Coles totaled eight points and a team-best nine rebounds, along with three steals, two assists and a block.
Henry also netted 15 points for UAlbany, while also grabbing six rebounds and recording three steals and two assists. Lowrie handed out a team-high five assists from the point guard position and recorded two of the Great Danes' 14 steals. UAlbany shot 39.1-percent (18-of-46) from the floor, and outrebounded the Retrievers, 37-27.UAlbany (8-7, AE 2-0) will return to action on Sunday, visiting Stony Brook at 5 p.m.