Hahne rounds out her skill set for UAlbany women’s basketball

UAlbany’s Ellen Hahne shoots against Saint Rose’s Isabel Sanchez during a women’s basketball exhibition at College of Saint Rose in Albany on Monday.

UAlbany’s Ellen Hahne shoots against Saint Rose’s Isabel Sanchez during a women’s basketball exhibition at College of Saint Rose in Albany on Monday.

ALBANY — There’s a change in Ellen Hahne’s game, but you may hear it before you see it.

Hahne, a graduate student for the UAlbany women’s basketball team, is becoming more vocal on the court. It’s about the only thing she could add to what has been a stellar two years with the Great Danes. 

“I always say that she changed our program when she came here,” UAlbany coach Colleen Mullen said recently. “Because when your best player is your hardest worker, you know they’re setting the right example. She’s really expanded her leadership from getting out of her comfort zone and being more vocal as a captain, and on the floor. So [she’s] not just a leader by example.”

Hahne and her Great Danes teammates will start the regular season Friday by hosting Merrimack at UAlbany’s home court this season, Hudson Valley Community College.

The 5-foot-11 Hahne, who transferred from Wake Forest after the 2019-2020 season, has played in 45 games over her two years at UAlbany, starting 31 of them. Last season, in helping the Great Danes to an America East championship and NCAA Tournament appearance, she averaged 7.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists and a team-high 1.3 steals per game.

Hahne admits being more of a vocal leader wasn’t easy at first.

“I’ve always kind of led by example; go hard and hopefully someone will do that the same way as I do,” Hahne said. “But being more vocal was something I had to work on just as a person, not just a basketball player.

“I could be kind of uncomfortable talking to people sometimes,” she added. “I was not shy, I would say, but not as outgoing. And after coming here, the coaches, they saw that [and said] ‘You need to get out of yourself a little bit. That’s going to help you on the court as well,’ ”

The easy part for Hahne was meeting Mullen’s expectations. She felt a connection to the staff right away, so that helped her already strong desire to work hard.

“Then I realized if I do that, I can bring other people with me. And that’s definitely something that’s a cool feeling, knowing that I can improve myself but also try to push others and just get everybody together and get to the same goal. It’s something I’m happy I can bring to the program.”

Hahne said the UAlbany environment helped her grow as a person and a player. Being comfortable helped her give more on the court.

“That is a standard I have for myself,” Hahne said. “Of course I brought that with me when I came here, and I know it’s something coach values a lot, so that’s how I fit well with this program.”

And that being more vocal thing? Well, the coaches were right.

“I feel like as a person on the court and off the court it’s helped me. I’m very grateful for that challenge,” Hahne said.

Hahne was especially strong in the postseason. She had 11 points, six rebounds and two steals in the team’s 83-51 loss to Louisville in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Prior to that, she delivered 13 points and nine rebounds in the America East championship win over Maine. And she had 17 points, seven rebounds and two assists in the conference semifinal win over Vermont.

Hahne said the Great Danes entered the offseason with more motivation from having had success last year.

“You feel happier waking up a winner,” Hahne said. “It gave us a lot of energy, it gave us a taste of what it feels like to win. Now we’re just hungry to feel that feeling again and do the same thing.”

Categories: -Sports-, College Sports, Sports, UAlbany

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