Ebone Henry puts team goals first and individual goals a distant second.
That’s why it’s no surprise that the senior guard from San Diego didn’t know that she needs only nine points to become the University at Albany women’s basketball program’s all-time leading scorer.
The 5-foot-10 Henry hopes to achieve her milestone against the Vermont, but she is more focused on keeping the Great Danes perfect in America East Conference play when they host the third-place Catamounts today at 5 at SEFCU Arena.
UAlbany is 6-0 in the league and 15-3 overall. Vermont is 4-2 in the league and 7-12 overall.
“It means a lot to me to get the record, but I didn’t really know I was just nine points away until someone told me,” said Henry. who is averaging 13.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. “I’m not going to focus on that. We set a lot of goals in the beginning of the season, and one of our goals is to win the America East Conference outright. This game will be a tough one for us, but I’m glad that we’ve been winning some close games lately. It gives us some good experience.”
Henry, one of the most versatile players in school history, has 1,473 career points, but she is also fifth in career rebounds (722), second in steals (285) and 15th in assists (207). She is the two-time America East Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
“Ebone and I came in together as freshmen, and we went 0-9 in the conference to start out,” said senior forward Julie Forster. “It seems so long ago, but we both remember how tough it was back then. Personal milestones are great, and I’m excited for her.”
UAlbany head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson didn’t recruit Henry, but she has coached her the last three seasons and is extremely impressed.
“She’s been the reason for all of our success,” said the coach. “She’s the one person on this team that comes closest to the passion I have for the game.”
Abrahamson-Henderson said that Henry’s decision to stay with UAlbany after her freshman season was one of the biggest decisions in program history.
“Ebone wasn’t sure she wanted to stay here after her freshman season, but the coaches and athletic director Lee McElroy convinced her to stay,” said Abrahamson-Henderson. “She was nervous when I first became the coach, because she didn’t understand my coaching style. But we went 5-0 in my first five games here, and she bought into what we were doing right away.
“Ebone is a super woman out there. She is a great passer, she drives the basketball, and she is extremely physical and strong. She is also an outstanding leader and captain. When Ebone is out on the court, everything changes. When she has to come out, everything is a little different. A great example is the Boston University game the other night. All of a sudden, BU whittled our big lead down to about two points, and Ebone comes in and gets a big steal and a layup. She does all the little things to turn the game around.”
UAlbany, the defending conference champion and NCAA tournament representative last year, dominated opponents in their first four conference games with an average winning margin of better than 35 points a game. But the last two conference games were much tougher, with Hartford taking the Great Danes to overtime, and Boston University giving the Danes a scare on the road.
“We need to protect our home court,” said Forster, the team’s all-time leading rebounder with more than 1,000 caroms. “We want to make this court a place where no other team wants to play.
“Other teams are filming us, and they are doing a good job of scouting us. That’s why the scores have become closer,” said Abrahamson-Henderson.
“We must control Vermont’s post players, and box out on the boards. We also need to put two good halves together. We didn’t do that in our last game.”