Again, the UAlbany women basketball team was missing key players.
Again, the Great Danes found a way to keep winning.
Without regular starters Lucia Decortes and Ellen Hahne available to play for UAlbany, Kayla Cooper delivered another standout performance as the Great Danes picked up their seventh consecutive victory with a 62-54 win Saturday at NJIT.
A reserve for the team’s first 11 games, Cooper has started UAlbany’s last three games and has been one of the Great Danes’ top players during that stretch. Against NJIT in a matchup of the America East’s last undefeated teams in league play, Cooper produced 21 points and a career-high 15 rebounds.
Cooper had just set a career-high in rebounds with 14 in first-place UAlbany’s previous game, which saw her score 15 points.
In UAlbany’s last four contests, Cooper has averaged 18.5 points and 12 rebounds per game. On the season, Cooper’s averaging 11.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.
UAlbany (3-0 America East, 10-4 overall) led NJIT (4-1 9-7) 31-25 at halftime, and the Great Danes used a strong stretch in the third quarter to take full control of the matchup. After NJIT had pulled within 41-37 midway through the third stanza, UAlbany scored the next 11 points — seven of which came from Helene Haegerstrand, who finished with 15 — of the contest.
From there, UAlbany led by as many as 17 points and never fewer than eight, even despite a stretch in the fourth quarter of more than six minutes that saw the Great Danes not score.
Kenna Squier led NJIT with 17 points. Squier was the team’s only double-digit scorer. NJIT made 19 of 51 shots in the contest and had 18 turnovers.
UAlbany had two fewer turnovers than NJIT and the Great Danes made 24 of 57 shots from the field. Grace Heeps contributed eight points and Lilly Phillip had seven points and seven assists.
UAlbany next plays Monday at Hartford, which is 0-13 on the season.