Albany County

Siena women want to end UAlbany’s streak

Danes have won seven straight
Siena's Kollyns Scarbrough takes a layup during last year's Albany Cup.
Siena's Kollyns Scarbrough takes a layup during last year's Albany Cup.

ALBANY — It’s a sound approach. Can’t argue with it.

“I don’t think there’s any pressure,” University at Albany redshirt senior Jessica Fequiere said Friday. “We’re just going to go out there and play hard.”

“We’re not worried about past victories or past games [or] anything like that,” UAlbany senior Tiana-Jo Carter said Friday. “We’re just worried about this game.”

That’s Saturday’s 5 p.m. Albany Cup matchup with Siena at Times Union Center — and the Great Danes’ approach is one that makes sense for a team that’s won seven consecutive matchups against its crosstown rival.

There’s no desperation for the Great Danes.

There’s some for the Saints.

“I’m really fed up with it,” Siena senior Kollyns Scarbrough told reporters Thursday about her team’s losing streak against UAlbany. “I can’t wait to get after them again.”

“It’s not really a rivalry,” Siena head coach Ali Jaques said, “until it’s evenly matched — and it hasn’t been for a long time.”

The Saints came close a year ago. UAlbany survived in last year’s matchup with an 88-86 overtime win at SEFCU Arena. In that game, Siena led by 10 points with less than six minutes to go in regulation.

Both UAlbany (6-2) and Siena (4-4) bring much different squads into this year’s game. Those newcomers to the rivalry, Jaques said, won’t take long to figure out the game’s intensity will be similar to a conference game.

“They’re going to learn pretty quick,” Jaques said.

UAlbany head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee got her first taste of the Albany Cup last year. She expects Saturday’s matchup to be physical, but said it’s key for players to keep composure.

“You can’t get wrapped up in the emotions of the game when you’re out there,” Bernabei-McNamee said of a game likely to be fast-paced.

This season, Fequiere leads UAlbany. The fifth-year senior averages 19.8 points and 5.3 rebounds, while Carter is the Great Danes’ next-highest scorer at 8.6. Nine different Great Danes average at least 10.7 minutes per game.

Scarbrough is Siena’s top player. The senior is averaging 15.0 points and 8.5 rebounds, while sophomores Maddie Sims (10.5) and Sabrina Piper (9.9) offer scoring punch around Scarbrough.

Each team’s players plan to enjoy Saturday’s atmosphere. While it’s likely easier for UAlbany to take more of a long-range view of the game’s importance within its schedule, the Great Danes won’t deny their game against Siena for the Albany Cup is one that motivates them a little extra. Winning doesn’t get old.

“This is the game that we look forward to every year,” UAlbany sophomore Mackenzie Trpcic said. “It’s big. It’s [like] a championship — it’s like our conference champ game.”

“They feel it. They know it,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “They want to have pride.”

But so does Siena — and, after Saturday, it wants to be able to say it’s back to having something else, too.

“It’s probably about time we made it a rivalry again,” Jaques said.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Michael Kelly at [email protected] or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.

Categories: College Sports, Sports

Leave a Reply