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WBB Game Ten Dec 6 (Tue) 2:00 PM Leede Arena, Hanover, NH

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The UAlbany Women's team is traveling to one of the most picturesque college towns and campuses in America .... sorry Colgate ... all said Dartmouth has only won once this season against six losses
Dec 6 (Tue) 2:00 PM
Leede Arena, Hanover, N.H.
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A call for composure ahead of road stretch

Lack of poise was costly in Saturday defeat to Cornell


By Abigail Rubel

Jim Franco / Times Union

UAlbany’s Helene Haegerstrand looks for room in front of Cornell’s Emily Pape in the Danes’ 53-45 loss to the Big Red on Saturday. Haegerstrand led UAlbany with 12 points.

Jim Franco / Times Union

UAlbany’s Ellen Hahne drives during the Danes’ loss to Cornell on Saturday. Hahne had eight points and six rebounds.

TROY — If the University at Albany women’s basketball team had been a little more poised for two minutes in the third quarter, it might have come out with a win Saturday night.

“We’re not staying composed,” said senior guard Grace Heeps following the 53-45 loss to Cornell. “That’s one of the things we need to work on this week in practice going forward, making more game-like situations in practice to prepare us for these opportunities.”

The Great Danes (4-5), who had trailed throughout the first half, went up 33-28 with 2:49 remaining off a 3-pointer from sophomore guard Lilly Phillips and a driving layup from fifth-year guard Ellen Hahne. The seven-point lead was the biggest either team had until Cornell took an eight-point lead off free throws in the final seconds.

“We had a good ending of the second quarter, and I feel like we came out with good energy, which we hadn’t had in the past, but we definitely needed going into the second half,” Heeps, who scored eight points, said.

With 2:38 remaining in the third period, Cornell coach Dayna Smith called a timeout.

“We weren’t happy with how we were playing defense. We were letting them dictate,” Smith said. “They were pounding the ball into (Helene) Haegerstrand ... We did a lot of work to not allow her to get the ball at practice, and then we were just constantly allowing her to get it in.”

The Big Red started pressing, leading to three UAlbany turnovers and six points in a 9-0 run to end the quarter. The Great Danes, who struggled against Maine’s press last season, were able to beat Cornell a few times, but turned it over on their end of the court, with Emily Pape grabbing two steals.

“They started really attacking us. They went right at the basket. They got easy, high-percentage baskets,” UAlbany coach Colleen Mullen said. “When you’re going against somebody and they’re getting high-percentage shots and you’re not even having a shot at the basket, that’s a really momentum swing. And then we started tensing up.”

“The press got to us and we stopped executing the way we should have, so that’s definitely going to be a learning point for us,” Haegerstrand said. “We’re going to be pressured. We’ve seen a lot of pressure, so that’s something we need to work on, something we’re going to face a lot.”

Haegerstrand led UAlbany with 12 points and briefly gave the Great Danes the lead back early in the fourth before Pape took it for good.

UAlbany won’t return to its temporary home at Hudson Valley Community College before America East play begins on Dec.

29. The stretch of five road games includes Boston College, Ohio State and Syracuse. They head to Dartmouth next for a game at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

“We just need to focus on making corrections, making fixes. Like I said, working on our composure in practice, working on executing our plays, playing defense, boxing out, finishing possessions are the biggest things we need to take onto the road,” Heeps said.

After Dartmouth, the Great Danes will have more than a day or two between games, a luxury they’ve rarely enjoyed so far this season. And Lucia Decortes, Kayla Cooper and Morgan Haney are all closer to returning, with Decortes joining the team for warmups prior to the Cornell game. Mullen is hoping to use that time to do more than teaching a scout.

“You have to create an experience and environment in practice that’s harder than a game, so they feel like when they’re in that moment, they’ve done that a hundred times,” Mullen said. “We need to just continue to be getting back to basics.”

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