Following a dominant debut, the UAlbany women’s basketball team struggled for much of its first road game of the season.
At Merrimack, UAlbany lost 65-52 Tuesday in non-conference action. The Great Danes never led after midway through the first quarter, and trailed by 10-plus points for most of the second half despite a spirited comeback attempt in the fourth quarter
Merrimack led 16-15 after one quarter, then UAlbany made 3 of 15 shots in the second. Merrimack took a 35-21 lead into halftime, then maintained a double-digit lead until the Great Danes’ best stretch of the contest. Merrimack took a game-high, 20-point lead early in the fourth quarter before UAlbany put together a 17-0 run to pull within 55-52 with more than four minutes to play.
From there, though, UAlbany went cold. Merrimack scored the game’s final 10 points as the Great Danes missed their final eight shots and had four turnovers in the game-ending scoreless spell.
Mayson Kimball led Merrimack, which had four double-digit scorers, with 16 points. Merrimack won despite committing 20 turnovers to UAlbany’s 15, and making 10 of 18 free throws.
UAlbany, though, only registered four foul shots, and made half of them. From the field, UAlbany made 21 of 71 shots, and the Great Danes were 4 of 20 from 3-point territory.
For UAlbany, Ellen Hahne led the Great Danes with 13 points and seven rebounds. Morgan Haney and Helene Haegerstrand each added 11 points.
Merrimack entered Tuesday’s game after a 0-2 start. Merrimack had suffered a 30-point loss to Vermont — like UAlbany, an America East Conference program — and lost 106-42 to Rhode Island. In that 64-point win for Rhode Island, former Saratoga Springs High School star Dolly Cairns had 13 points and former Cambridge High School standout Sophie Phillips — the twin sister of UAlbany’s Lilly Phillips — scored eight.
UAlbany topped Hofstra 70-41 in its first game of the season, the most-lopsided win for the Great Danes against a Division I opponent since head coach Colleen Mullen was hired in 2018. In that victory, only Hahne registered double-digit scoring, but 11 players scored and eight had at least five points.
Against Merrimack, only six UAlbany players scored, and one of those players was center Lucia Decortes who scored one point during a game that saw her battle constant foul trouble. Decortes, a starter, fouled out after nine minutes.
In all, UAlbany’s bench outscored the team’s starters 27-25.
UAlbany next plays Nov. 24 at Cornell.