UAlbany Women Unleash Storm on Bearcats
With snow blanketing the University at Albany campus, the Great Danes’ women’s basketball team remained hot, notching its sixth straight victory in an 80-63 win over Binghamton on Thursday night.
UAlbany’s senior guard Imani Tate (19.7 PPG heading into the game) struggled for most of the night. Luckily for the Danes, senior Bailey Hixson picked up the slack en route to scoring a career-high 20 points. She added nine rebounds, two steals and two blocks on the night.
“It was just a good night. I knew I had to come out and shoot well.” Hixson said. “Overall I think we did a good job shooting the ball and moving the ball tonight.”
The battle between Imani Tate and Binghamton guard Imani Watkins, the America East’s top two scorers, wasn’t quite as high-octane as the first matchup in early January. Watkins finished an underwhelming 3 of 19 from the field and Tate didn’t get in any sort of rhythm until the fourth quarter. In their previous meeting, the two combined for 44 points.
Before tallying 10 points of her own in the fourth quarter, Tate found ways to get other Danes involved, matching freshman guard Mackenzie Trpcic with a team-high five assists. Tate was a pest inside, grabbing seven rebounds, including three on the offensive end.
“It’s always great when you can finish out a game,” Tate said. “It was a team effort, everybody came to play.” Tate and Hixson shared a moment in which the two attempted to recall when the Danes last lost a game. A Jan. 22 slip-up against Maine marks the last time UAlbany didn’t come out on top.
“The last time we lost, I feel like we were all very disappointed in ourselves. I think that we don’t want that feeling anymore. I mean no one wants that feeling,” said first-year head coach Joanna Bernabei-Mcnamee.
Both teams came out of halftime shooting the lights out from deep, making a combined 6 of 11 three-point attempts in the third quarter after a lackluster 3 for 16 showing in the first half. Hixson played the role of catalyst from downtown, knocking down a game-high four threes.
The win solidified the Danes’ second-place standing in the America East with just four games remaining on their regular season schedule. They may not catch first-place New Hampshire by season’s end, but the Danes are catching fire at the perfect time.
Unlike the first matchup against Binghamton–in which the Danes rallied in the second half–UAlbany earned Thursday’s victory with minimal worry. The Danes never trailed.
UAlbany never could find an answer for Binghamton’s Alyssa James, who bullied her way into the paint all night to the tune of a game-high points. The junior center, who leads the America East conference in blocks, sent three UAlbany shots back in the game
“Albany played very well. Give a lot of credit to them. Their role players and their secondary players came ready to play,” said Binghamton head coach Linda Cimino. The Bearcats had their modest two-game win streak snapped Thursday night.
If it seems like the Danes never lose at SEFCU Arena, that would be because they don’t, at least not often. The win over Binghamton on Thursday night moved UAlbany to 11-1 at home in 2016-17and 36-3 since the 2012-13 season began.
Coming up next for the Danes is a road contest against UMBC on Wednesday, while the Bearcats will take on America East-leading New Hampshire on Sunday.