Women's Basketball Falls At New Hampshire 71-58
DURHAM, N.H. – Playing in its first America East road game of the season, the University at Albany women’s basketball program (8-8, 2-1 AE) fell on the road against New Hampshire (12-3, 2-0 AE) 71-58. The road woes continue for the Great Danes, who fall to 1-8 in games away from SEFCU Arena.
“UNH played hard and battled back,” said head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee. “I thought we came out of the gate rebounding very well and hitting our shots. But as the game went on we got into some foul trouble which forced us into some unfamiliar lineups. I think that caused us to give up a bit more defensively than we normally would.”
New Hampshire entered the game with the best record in the America East, though they had only played one game in-conference. In their last game, the Wildcats trailed Stony Brook 25-10 at halftime before coming back to win 49-46.
Senior guard Imani Tate scored first for the Great Danes, gathering an offensive rebound from a quick three-point attempt from senior Bailey Hixson off the opening tip. Hixson later scored four consecutive points to give the Great Danes an 11-3 lead with 6:05 remaining in the first. The lead extended to 14-3 before New Hampshire scored again, after which redshirt-junior Bose Aiyalogbe immediately hit a three-pointer to extend the lead once more.
Tate scored her 10th point with 1:27 remaining in the first quarter, drawing two consecutive and-one fouls to give the Danes a 27-12 lead. After the first quarter, UAlbany led 27-14. Tate had scored as many points as the entire Wildcats’ team.
“I think we rebounded well in the first quarter,” said Coach Mac. “I think at the first media timeout we were up 8-0 in rebounds. I thought we moved the ball well, and we hit our open shots. We weren’t hesitating.”
The scoring pace for UAlbany dropped in the second quarter, and it had increased for New Hampshire, who had cut their deficit to eight by the midway point of the quarter. As the half ran down, the Wildcats rode a 13-0 run to take their first lead since 9:22 in the first quarter. At halftime, the New Hampshire led 36-33.
“It was a high-and-low kind of game for us tonight,” said Coach Mac. “And on our lows, they took over momentum, and that was coming at bad times.”
Tate led all players with 18 points and seven rebounds through the first two quarters. She also led the Great Danes in assists with three. New Hampshire had two players score in double figures in the first half. As a team, the Great Danes led the Wildcats 5-0 in second chance points and 4-2 in fast break points. New Hampshire held the advantage in points in the paint 14-12, points off of turnovers 11-8, and bench points 7-2. The Wildcats had outscored the Great Danes 22-6 in the second quarter. UAlbany missed their final eight shots of the quarter.
Reigning America East Player of the Week Jessica Féquière scored on a layup right away for the Great Danes to kick off the third quarter. UAlbany took back the lead with 7:30 left in the third on a layup by sophomore Heather Forster. An 8-2 run to open the half had given the Danes a 41-38 lead midway through the third quarter. Ultimately, the Great Danes outscored the Wildcats 15-7 in the third, taking a 48-43 lead into the fourth.
The Wildcats tied the game at 48 with just under seven minutes remaining. They took the lead with six minutes remaining, but Tate responded with a three-pointer to put the Danes back on top by one.
“I do believe that this is a resilient team,” said Coach Mac. “I think foul trouble just had us in crazy lineups. But even then we can’t have a let up. We kept getting beat off the dribble a lot, but hopefully that’s something we can learn from this game as we keep getting better.”
With 4:40 to go, the Wildcats had opened up a four-point lead. By the two-minute mark New Hampshire led by eight. The Great Danes would come no closer, and would finally fall by a score of 71-58.
Tate finished the game with 27 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists, to lead UAlbany in all categories. She also led the team in blocks, with two, and steals, with four, marking the first time this season a single player had led the team in all five major statistical categories.
The Great Danes 4-2 halftime advantage in fast break points held true through the remainder of the game. New Hampshire otherwise led UAlbany 30-20 in points in the paint, 19-12 in points off of turnovers, 9-8 in second chance points, and 22-4 in bench points. The Wildcats also outscored the Danes 28-10 in the final quarter.
Next, the Great Danes return home to host UMBC on Monday, January 16. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.