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WBB Game Nine Dec 3 (Sat) 7:00 PM McDonough Sports Complex - HVCC, Troy, NY

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Danes look to avenge loss

UAlbany gets another crack at Cornell after losing last year’s game


By Abigail Rubel

UAlbany vs. Cornell

■› When: 7 p.m. Saturday

■› Where: Hudson Valley Community College, Troy

■› Stream: ESPN3

Jim Franco / Times Union

UAlbany sophomore Freja Werth leads the team in rebounds at 5.8 per game and is third in scoring at 9.8 points per game.

ALBANY — Last year’s loss to Cornell isn’t one the University at Albany women’s basketball team is going to forget any time soon.

In a game featuring 11 lead changes and five ties, the Great Danes lost 47-46 on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

“It was a tough ending last year, and I blame myself. I had a timeout, we had a foul to give, and you look back, just like you ask your players to look back and evaluate themselves,” UAlbany coach Colleen Mullen said.

UAlbany (4-4) gets another crack at the Big Red (4-4) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Hudson Valley Community College, its last home game before the start of America East play.

Though the Great Danes are trying to leave the loss last season behind them, “it’s also one of those games that you remember very clearly, and when you have the same group, basically, it’s very much a revenge game for everyone. So it’s more of an excitement than anything else,” senior forward Helene Haegerstrand said.

Haegerstrand, who missed the first four games of the season with an injury, scored a season-high 19 points in the Great Danes’ last outing at Canisius. After trailing by 10 early in the third period, UAlbany rallied for a 59-48 win to end a four-game losing streak.

“In halftime, we were able to reset and just get back to what we wanted to do, and then just came out with energy, do our thing, and we came away with the win,” said fifth-year guard Ellen Hahne, who added 13 points. “It was definitely a different feeling. It felt like we were having fun, we’re playing with each other, for each other … it felt like we were ourselves again.”

Hahne is UAlbany’s leading scorer with 14.8 points per game, followed by Haegerstrand with 11.0. Sophomore guard Freja Werth is averaging 5.8 rebounds.

Cornell is led by senior guard Shannon Mulroy’s 9.8 points per game, though junior guard Kaya Ingram, senior guard Ania McNicholas and freshman forward Emily Pape are all averaging just more than nine points per game.

“They’re tough, they’re scrappy and you can tell by the way they execute offensively. They run a lot of sets, so you can’t defend every set, but you have to be prepared for the different actions,” Mullen said.

The Great Danes will try to shut down the Big Red inside and limit them to perimeter shots; Cornell shoots just 21.3 percent from 3.

“They’re really just trying to attack the basket, move a lot off the ball,” Hahne said.

“Unlike in Canisius, where our turnovers turned into easy baskets for them, that can’t happen in this game. We have got to take care of the ball. We’ve got to finish possessions with box-outs,” Mullen said. “We got to limit them to one shot, but it’s really going to come down to how well we defend them in terms of finishing the possessions, stopping them in transition, and then on the other flip side is really not allowing them to take us out of our offensive game with changing defenses.”

Mullen played under Cornell coach Dana Mitchell at the University at Rhode Island, and still counts Mitchell as a mentor.

“I know she’s got a really, really great basketball mind, and she’s somebody that really strategizes and is going to have a great game plan against us,” Mullen said.

UAlbany hasn’t beaten Cornell since 2009, and last season’s loss was the third straight against the Big Red.

“I was very happy for her, very sad for us, but we learned a lot from that game. I got better as a coach, our players got better and ultimately I think that experience, it helped us win a championship,” Mullen said.

▶› Abigail.Rubel@timesunion.com

A @abigail_rubel

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