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UAlbany women advance to AE final

UAlbany women advance to AE final

UAlbany women advance to AE final
UAlbany coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee and members of the team celebrate after Sunday's semifinal win.
Photographer: America East Photo

PORTLAND, Maine — Senior Bailey Hixson scored a career-high 22 points Sunday as the University at Albany women’s basketball team held off Hartford 67-65 in the American East Conference Tourn­ament semifinals.

After holding a 10-point lesad for most of the game, the Great Danes (20-11) saw No, 6 seed Hartford (17-14) claw back and tie the game late in the fourth quarter,

“I really think this was a team win,” said UAlbany head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee. “An ugly win, but a team win. You can see we’re a bit of an up-and-down team, even in a game like tonight, but I think we’re coming along at the right time.”

With a chance to bring the game within one late in the game, Hartford missed two free throws, but then forced a turnover on the ensuing UAlbany possession. The Hawks took advantage, hitting a layup a few seconds later to cut the lead to one.

After a circus shot from Mackenzie Trpcic as the shot clock expired put the Danes back on top, Hartford hit a quick three to tie the game at 63 with just over three minutes remaining. Tiani-Jo Carter then hit a layup on the other end.

Imani Tate hit a jumper from the right side to give UAlbany a four-point lead with less than two minutes to go.

Trpcic launched a three as the shot clock expired, missing off the side of the rim. Hixson grabbed the offensive rebound but could not come down cleanly and traveled, giving Hartford the ball down two with 28.1 seconds remaining.

With 8.7 seconds left, Jessica Fequiere tied up the ball on a Hartford drive, giving UAlb­any possession still up two. Tate received the inbounds play and was quickly fouled. She missed both free throws, and Hartford grabbed the rebound and called timeout with 6.0 seconds remaining.

The Great Danes locked down on defense for the final six seconds, forcing Hartford into an off-balance three pointer which missed long. UAlbany won the game 67-65.

Hixson led the team with a career-high 22 points, including career-high 6-11 from three. Fequiere had 13, and Carter and Tate each added 12. Fequiere led the team with 10 rebounds, and Trpcic led with eight assists.

UAlbany will host the America East final at SEFCU Arena against No. 4 seed at 4:30 on Friday. Maine upset top-seeded New Hampshire 61-52 in the first semifinal.

Abed 6-13 0-0 14, Mayza 4-12 2-2 14, Lee 5-7 1-1 11, Harrison 4-6 2-4 10, Da Costa 3-6 1-4 8, Hall 2-5 0-0 4, Reaves 2-4 0-0 4, Douglass 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 26-55 6-11 65.
Hixson 8-15 0-0 22, Fequiere 5-9 0-0 13, Carter 5-6 2-2 12, Tate 4-11 4-8 12, Stokes 1-3 0-0 2, Trpcic 1-4 0-0 2, Aiyalogbe 1-2 0-0 2, Forster 1-2 0-2 2, Edwards 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 26-53 6-12 67.
Hartford    13 23 12 17 — 65
UAlbany    23 20 12 12 — 67
3-point goals: Hartford 7-20 (Mayza 4-9, Abed 2-7, Da Costa 1-2, Douglass 0-2), UAlbany 9-24 (Hixson, 6-11, Fequiere 3-5, Tate 0-4, Stokes 0-1, Trpcic 0-3). Fouled out: None. Rebounds: Hartford 21 (Harrison 5, Reaves 5), UAlbany 39 (Fequiere 10). Assists: Hartford 17 (Mayza, 6), UAlbany 19 (Trpcic 8). Total fouls: Hartford 17, UAlbany 12. A — 1.847.

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