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Bearcat Comeback Earns Danes a Trip to Maine

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No. 4 University at Albany women’s basketball earns a trip to the America East Tournament semifinals after a comeback 61-56 win over No. 5 Binghamton Wednesday night.

“I am so happy for them,” said UAlbany coach Colleen Mullen. “I think it showed everyone, ourselves, each other, just how far we have come, the improvement we’ve made and the toughness we showed.”

The Great Danes entered tournament play having lost four of their last five regular season games.

UAlbany led 18-10 with eight minutes left in the first quarter before an 8-0 Binghamton run tied the score at 18 before quarter’s end. The Bearcats led 31-30 at halftime behind junior Kai Moon’s 12 points. They led UAlbany 42-33 midway through the third quarter.

“We all looked at each other and decided that we weren’t going to just give up,” said UAlbany senior Chyanna Canada. “We came together, we really had each other’s back.”

The Danes prevailed after a third quarter timeout, cutting the lead to 46-44 early in the fourth. A back-and-forth finish saw the UAlbany gain and hold a lead late, despite poor free-throw shooting.

The charity stripe remains an issue for UAlbany – they shot 64.3 percent while Binghamton shot 100 percent. The Danes went 1-4 after intentional fouls before junior Alexi Schecter made it a two-possession game with four seconds remaining.

UAlbany’s Second Team All-Conference senior Heather Forster fouled out with 1:20 remaining. She ran into foul trouble early, only playing six first half minutes and ending with 14. She averaged 25.2 minutes during the season.

“My emotions were everywhere,” Forster said about fouling out. “But I believed in my team and I knew everything they were capable of.”

The Great Danes’ leading scorer, sophomore Kyara Frames, was held to 12 points, shooting just 3-11 from beyond the arc. Her first points came at 8:59 of the second quarter.  

Schecter led UAlbany with 13 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Danes’ junior Khepera Stokes led the game with four steals, adding seven rebounds.

“Defense turns into offense,” said Schecter. “Khep with those big steals I think was definitely the turning point of the game. That is the intensity we need to have and it trickled down from the guards to the post.”

Binghamton’s senior Rebecca Carmody paced all players with 19 points, 13 points and four assists. Moon added 17 points.

“Rebecca Carmody has been unbelievable with what she’s brought to this program. I wish I could have her for another year,” said Binghamton coach Bethann Shapiro Ord. “She has been invited to a pro combine and I think she will do terrific.”

UAlbany improves to 5-0 all-time against the Bearcats in the AE Tournament and 42-25 overall, extending the series winning streak to 17 games.

Reigning AE Champion No. 1 Maine will host UAlbany on Sunday.

The 2018 AE victory ended a UAlbany 2012-2017 tournament winning streak.

The Black Bears defeated the Danes twice this season, most recently 67-61 Feb. 16 at SEFCU Arena.

“They are a really well-balanced team,” said coach Mullen. “But we’ve played them twice very well. We’ve gotten down significantly but we know we can play with this team.”

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