UAlbany women’s basketball breezes past UMBC

UAlbany women's basketball head coach Colleen Mullen addresses media members following Wednesday's game. (Michael Kelly/The Daily Gazette)

UAlbany women's basketball head coach Colleen Mullen addresses media members following Wednesday's game. (Michael Kelly/The Daily Gazette)

ALBANY — It was a matinee game, but no wake-up call was needed Wednesday for the Great Danes.

That had already come Monday when the UAlbany women’s basketball team’s seven-game winning streak ended with a loss at previously winless Hartford.

“We were hungry. We wanted to prove . . . that [the Hartford] game doesn’t define us,” said UAlbany senior center Lucia Decortes, who returned to the team’s lineup in Wednesday’s 69-40 win against UMBC after missing the last two games due to a concussion. “We’re just better than that, so we were really hungry and wanted to prove to ourselves that we’re better than that.”

The Great Danes — playing on the program’s “Education Day,” with children from local schools in attendance — didn’t waste any time showing that against an overmatched UMBC squad that showed up on the wrong day at SEFCU Arena. UAlbany started Wednesday’s America East Conference game, which started at 11 a.m., with a 21-2 run and led by at least 20 points for the final 19-plus minutes of the second half.

“Just a total team effort. We had 25 points coming off the bench, and we all contributed. We knew what to do, and our defense was back . . . which was so exciting for us,” UAlbany junior Helene Haegerstrand said.

Sophomore Kayla Cooper and Haegerstrand each scored 14 points, while Fatima Lee added 13 off the Great Danes’ bench. In all, UAlbany made 29 of 52 shots, while its defense limited UMBC to 13 of 47 shooting and helped cause 21 turnovers for the visitors.

Leading into its game against UMBC (0-4, 1-13), UAlbany (4-1 America East, 11-5 overall) had suffered a disappointing defeat against Hartford. Great Danes head coach Colleen Mullen said she “absolutely” thinks that loss against the Hawks will prove to be a “turning point” for her club.

“I’m not thankful we lost the [Hartford] game, but I am thankful it happened when it happened, so that it just reminded us . . . that anybody can beat anybody on any given day, and you have to do the work. You have to prepare the same,” Mullen said. “I think learning that now, rather than in March, is really important.”

UAlbany led 36-17 at halftime and took a 21-point lead into the fourth quarter. The Great Danes narrowly missed recording their fifth game this season with their opponent finishing with fewer than 40 points, and the 29-point win matched their most-lopsided victory this season against a fellow Division I opponent.

On the season, UAlbany is 8-0 at home.

UAlbany played 11 players in the game at least five minutes, and 10 of them scored. 

Regular starters Lilly Phillips (ankle) and Ellen Hahne (health-and-safety protocols) missed the game. 

While Phillips missed her first game, Hahne has missed the team’s last five games and Mullen has not discussed when Hahne will be able to return. Phillips was in uniform and warmed up for the contest, but Mullen said the coaching staff “decided just to rest her,” and that Phillips shouldn’t miss any more games with the injury.

Janee’a Summers was UMBC’s top scorer with a dozen points.

UAlbany next plays Saturday at Stony Brook, which joins the Great Danes in having only one league loss so far this season. Stony Brook is the America East’s reigning champion.


Former Amsterdam High School standout Antonia May played 23 minutes off the UMBC bench.

While May’s statistical line was a modest one with no points, four rebounds and two steals, the 6-foot-0 freshman was the only player on her team to record a positive plus/minus, at plus-1, in the blowout loss.

UMBC coach Johnetta Hayes said May is a major part of the future for UMBC, and has made progress during her rookie college season.

“I’ve seen her grow mentally,” Hayes said. “I’ve seen her become tougher.”

On the season, May is averaging 0.6 points and 0.8 rebounds in 10.8 minutes per game in 13 appearances.

Categories: College Sports, Sports


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