ALBANY — Helene Haegerstrand wasn’t nearly as productive in the second half as she was in the first, but the one shot she did make pretty much sealed it for the UAlbany women’s basketball team on Wednesday night.
With UMass Lowell lurking behind by nine points after having trailed by as much as 19 in the first half, Haegerstrand rattled home a 3-pointer near the end of the shot clock for a 56-44 lead with 1:45 left in the game, and that’s where the score stood at the final buzzer.
The Great Danes improved to 12-6 overall and, at 5-2 in the America East, moved past Vermont into a tie with NJIT for second place behind Stony Brook in the conference.
UMass Lowell (6-8 overall) lost ground by falling to 3-2 in the AE.
Haegerstrand finished with 18 points, 14 of which came in the first half.
The Great Danes led 37-21 at halftime behind a defense that forced nine turnovers and held the River Hawks to 7-for-21 (33.3%) from the field.
UAlbany made six of seven 3-pointers in the first half, led by Haegerstrand, who was 3-for-4.
UMass Lowell chipped away a little bit, getting within 44-32 through three quarters and within nine (49-40) with 5:31 left in the fourth.
“I just wanted them to relax, because the defense was good the whole game, even though the offense was different in the two halves,” UAlbany coach Colleen Mullen said after the game in the ESPN+ livestream.
Ellen Hahne returned to the Great Danes’ rotation after missing the last six games due to health-and-safety protocols.
A starter in UAlbany’s first 11 games this season, Hahne played 16 minutes against the River Hawks and had four points on 4-for-4 from the free throw line and had three rebounds and two steals.
“She’s just such a hard worker, and I know for the kids it was a breath of fresh air to have her back,” Mullen said. “And it’s great to be back to full strength.”