Maine Ends UAlbany’s Winning Streak at Four Games
The University at Albany women’s basketball team had its four-game winning streak snapped Saturday afternoon as the Maine Black Bears defeated the Great Danes 67-61.
“Maine played a completely different strategy against us than the last time we played,” said UAlbany coach Colleen Mullen. “They did something no one else has done to us. They jammed our post players, they were physical.”
The game was scoreless for the first 2:48 of action until Black Bears’ senior guard Parise Rossignol drained a three-pointer. Maine lead UAlbany 32-21 at halftime behind 18 points from junior guard Blanca Millan. The Black Bears led by 17 points midway through the third quarter before the Danes surged to within five points, 54-49, with 5:06 remaining in the game. The effort fell short when Maine responded with four points and ultimately won by six.
“This is a really hard place to win,” said Maine coach Amy Vachon. “There aren’t many kids on our teams who have won here so I’m proud of them for getting the win.”
Millan lead all scorers with her second-best season total of 31 points – adding three rebounds, two assists and four steals. She increased her America East-leading points-per-game to 17.7.
“She’s an unbelievable player,” UAlbany sophomore guard Kyara Frames said. “She’s challenging me as a basketball player, which is all I can for if I want to get better.”
Frames lead UAlbany with 23 points, shooting 5-10 from three-point territory. She entered the top-10 America East points-per-game leaderboard with 12.1. The outing is her fourth 20-point game of the season.
UAlbany senior forward Heather Forster finished with 13 points and nine rebounds. She is second in the conference with 7.2 rebounds-per-game.
“We had a different energy when we came out in the second half,” Forster said. “At the end of the day it didn’t go our way, but it just gives us more fire to get them back next time.”
Maine defeated UAlbany 76-65 on Jan.12, so if there is a next time, it will be in the playoffs.
The Great Danes shot 39.7 percent from the field and Maine shot 40 percent. The difference-makers were turnovers and free-throw percentage. Maine averages the least number of turnovers in the conference and committed only six this game. UAlbany, however, is third-worst and committed 15.
“They turned us over and capitalized on those turnovers,” Mullen said. “It really presents a challenge when they take care of the ball and have such a positive turnover ratio.”
Free-throw percentage is a major weakness for the Danes, as they average a conference-worst 59.8 percent. They shot 57.1 percent against Maine who shot 75 percent.
Maine remains atop the America East standings with a 12-1 conference record, holding a 1.5 game lead over second place Hartford. Home court throughout the playoffs is key for Maine as the closest school is the University of New Hampshire, roughly three hours away.
“Traveling from Maine is tough,” said Vachon. “We have three games left and have to take it one game at a time. But if we could stay home, we would really appreciate that.”
Maine has a week-long break before a home game against Stony Brook on Feb. 24.
The loss is only their second in the past nine games. The Danes host the Seawolves on Wednesday.
“I’m really proud of our second half,” said Mullen. “I think that is great momentum going into the game against Stony Brook.”