Don’t get Ebone Henry angry.
The recipient of a hard foul on a breakaway layup attempt with 10:33 left, the pumped-up Henry drew inspiration and helped carry the University at Albany women’s basketball team to one of its most inspiring victories of the season.
The senior guard poured in 23 points, grabbed four rebounds, had six assists and made two steals to spark the Great Danes over Boston University, 79-72, in a key America East Conference game Thursday night at SEFCU Arena.
It was the final conference game between the two rivals as Boston University, last year’s regular-season champion, will play in the Patriot League next season and won’t be eligible for this year’s America East Conference tourn-ament, held here next month.
By sweeping the Terriers (12-2, 22-5), the 13-0, 22-3 Great Danes, who already locked up the top seed, not only stayed unbeaten in conference play, but also virtually locked up the regular-season title with three games to play. Although BU can’t play in the tournament, the Terriers could still win a share of the regular-season title and an automatic bid to the NIT.
“We want to win the America East title outright,” said Henry, the two-time conference defensive player of the year. “This was a statement game for us. We want everyone to know that we beat one of the best teams in BU twice. We want the rest of the teams in the league to be scared to play us.
“I didn’t think that hard foul was necessary, but I‘m glad she did foul me hard, because it got me more motivated.”
The game was also a personal battle between Henry and BU’sChantell Alford, the two-time conference player of the year who scored 25 points and added six assists and two steals.
“She’s the current player of the year. Why not take it to her?” said Henry.
“What I’m most proud about this team is that everyone stayed calm.”
Senior guard Lindsey Lowrie poured in 17 points on 5-for-8 shooting from the field, including 5-for-7 from three-point territory. She buried three threes in the final seven minutes to help the Danes pull away from a 59-55 advantage to lead by as much as 10 (72-62) with 2:58 left.
“We’re just very excited to beat this team twice,” said Lowrie. “We get up every time we play them, because they are such a good team. Usually, Boston University is one of the best teams in the league.”
Senior forward/center Keyana Williams also played a key role with 15 points and nine rebounds. With fellow post players Megan Craig and Shereesha Richards both in foul trouble, Williams scored seven of her points in the final four minutes.
“This is the last time we’re going to play Boston University, and there is no doubt that was on our minds,” she said. “We wanted to make sure there was no doubt as to who the best team in the league is. We never beat Boston University when I was a freshman. That emotion started from a deep place.”
BU, which hit 11 of 23 shots from three-point range, made six in the first five minutes of the second half to go ahead, 51-45, but Henry, Lowrie and Williams took over for the Great Danes, who took several
10-point leads late in the game.
BOSTON UNIVERSITY (72)
Agboola 8-14 3-5 19, Turner 2-2 0-1 4, Sims 5-11 0-0 14, Alford 8-14 5-6 25, Moran 3-9 0-1 9, Callahan 0-4 1-2 1, McKendrick 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 26-55 9-15 72.
Forster 1-4 1-2 3, Keya. Williams 5-9 5-6 15, Royals 0-1 2-5 2, Henry 8-19 4-5 23, Lowrie 5-8 2-2 17, Rosario 0-0 0-0 0, Richards 4-6 2-3 10, Craig 3-4 3-4 9. Totals: 26-51 19-27 79.
Halftime: UAlbany, 35-27. Three-point goals: BU 11-23 (Sims 4-8, Alford 4-7, Moran 3-5, Callahan 0-3); UAlbany 8-17 (Forster 0-1, Henry 3-9, Lowrie 5-7). Rebounds: BU 25 (Turner 7); UAlbany 39 (Keya. Williams 9). Assists: BU 17 (Alford 6, Moran 6); UAlbany 17 (Henry 6). Personal fouls: BU 17, UAlbany 17. Officials: John Palermo, Carlos Alvarez, Christopher Poles.