The result wasn’t one that thrilled head coach Colleen Mullen.
That her UAlbany women’s basketball program was finally able to play, though, was a victory in itself for the Great Danes.
“After all the adversity we faced — all the pauses — and really not being on a level playing field, I was just so proud of how our players played for 40 minutes and kept competing,” Mullen said during a phone interview following the Great Danes’ 63-45 season-opening loss Friday at Hofstra in Hempstead.
Since the team’s athletes returned to campus to start the fall semester, the Great Danes experienced four separate instances in which they could not have in-person team activities for pandemic-related reasons. The most-recent of those pauses was a multiple-day one last week, but UAlbany was able to get in enough practices to keep Friday’s game on its schedule after needing to cancel or postpone several previously scheduled games, and become the first of the Capital Region’s four Division I basketball teams to play this season, edging the Siena women for that distinction by several hours.
Friday’s “score isn’t where we want it to be,” Mullen said, but the Great Danes (0-1) were taking on a Hofstra (2-2) team that had already played a few games this season. At David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex, Hofstra’s JaKayla Brown led all scorers with 16 points, while teammate Jaylen Hines added 14 points and 13 rebounds.
For UAlbany, Ellen Hahne — a transfer from Wake Forest — led the way with 15 points and 11 rebounds. No other UAlbany player registered double-digit scoring, but Lucia Decortes, a junior forward, joined Hahne as one of UAlbany’s “bright spots” with seven points and eight rebounds.
“We’re going to learn a lot from this film,” Mullen said.
UAlbany shot well early, making 4 of 6 3-pointers in the first quarter. From there, though, UAlbany missed its 17 attempts from downtown in the next three quarters.
Moving forward, Mullen said she doesn’t want her team taking as many 3-point attempts as it did Friday.
“That might have been a kiss of death for us [that] we hit so many shots early,” Mullen said. “We were on fire.”
Hofstra used a 12-2 run to surge to a 31-20 lead at halftime and maintained at least an 11-point lead throughout the second half.
Mullen and her coaching staff wore face masks during the game, as did players during warmups and when on the bench, but her players did not wear them during game action.
Besides Hahne and Decortes, UAlbany started Kyara Frames, Grace Heeps and Helene Haegerstrand in its opener. Besides those five players, double-digit minutes went to Izzy Om, Taniya Hanner and Kayla Cooper.
Announced several hours after Friday’s game, UAlbany will next play Sunday at Seton Hall.
UAlbany — briefly — had a game scheduled for Sunday against Saint Peter’s. After announcing that game’s scheduling on Thursday, the game was called off early Friday afternoon after MAAC games were added for Saint Peter’s this weekend since a fellow league member — Iona — lost its opponent for the weekend when Monmouth needed to pause team activities because of a positive novel coronavirus test result.
Decortes 3-7 1-1 7, Haegerstrand 3-7 0-0 7, Frames 1-8 3-4 6, Hahne 6-14 3-4 15, Heeps 1-8 1-2 4, Om 1-4 1-2 4, Cooper 0-5 0-2 0, Robinson 1-1 0-0 2, Hanner 0-1 0-0 0, Hayes 0-0 0-0 0.
Hines 6-15 1-2 14, Henry 1-3 3-6 5, Brown 6-15 4-7 16, Nicholson 3-7 2-3 8, Knight 4-11 0-0 10, Swint 4-5 0-0 8, Valcourt 1-4 0-0 2, Croskey 0-2 0-0 0, Reynolds 0-0 0-0 0.
UAlbany 14 6 14 11 — 45
Hofstra 17 14 17 15 — 63
3-point goals: UAlbany 4-23 (Frame 1-8, Heeps 1-6, Haegerstrand 1-3, Om 1-3, Hahne 0-3), Hofstra 3-8 (Knight 2-6, Hines 1-1, Nicholson 0-1). Fouled out: Haegerstrand, Swint. Rebounds: UAlbany 39 (Hahne 11), Hofstra 41 (Hines 13). Assists: UAlbany 8 (Frames 4), Hofstra 13 (Knight 5). Total fouls: UAlbany 15, Hofstra 20.