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Game 28 / Conference 14 Feb 15 (Wed) 7:00 PM Baltimore, MD. Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena

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Feb 15 (Wed) 7:00 PM


UMBC WBB have an overall record of 12-12 however, are 9-4 in the America East Conference.

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  • cwdickens changed the title to Game 28 / Conference 14 Feb 15 (Wed) 7:00 PM Baltimore, MD. Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena



Big games at high stakes


By Abigail Rubel

Jim Franco / Times Union

UAlbany graduate student Ellen Hahne said the team showed composure in an overtime win against Binghamton on Saturday.

Jim Franco / Times Union

Fatima Lee could help UAlbany clinch at least a first-round home playoff game by defeating UMBC.

UAlbany at UMBC

■› When: 7 p.m. Wednesday

■› Where: Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena, Baltimore, Md.

■› Stream: ESPN+

ALBANY — University at Albany women’s basketball coach Colleen Mullen is fond of saying that the biggest game is always the next one.

That’s never more true than at the end of the season.

The top seed in the America East is still up for grabs, but the Great Danes (17-10, 11-2 America East) can clinch at least a first-round home playoff game with a win at 7 p.m. Wednesday at UMBC (12-12, 9-4).

UAlbany can claim at least a share of the regular-season title for the first time since 2016 if it wins out, but even that wouldn’t guarantee the Great Danes the number-one seed. If Vermont also wins out, the two teams would tie. UAlbany and Vermont split the season series, so the tiebreaker would go to their records against the third-place team, then fourth, and so on.

UMBC and Maine are currently tied in third. As of Tuesday, Vermont holds the tiebreaker if Maine finishes at No. 3 — the Catamounts swept Maine, and UAlbany already lost to the Black Bears once. But Vermont split against UMBC, and UAlbany can complete the sweep Wednesday, giving the Great Danes the tiebreaker if the Retrievers finish third.

“To get a sweep of a team is huge. It’s important just in terms of your confidence, where you’re going into the tail end of the season, it’s important where you finish in the standings, because obviously you want to get that home court advantage,” Mullen said.

If Maine and UMBC tie for third, the America East would consider them a group when it comes to breaking a tie for first and look at the four games together.

NJIT (7-5 league) and Binghamton (6-6 league) are both still in the hunt for a top-four spot. UAlbany completed a sweep of Binghamton Saturday, outlasting the Bearcats 63-53 in overtime.

It was the first time senior guard Grace Heeps was part of a game that didn’t end, one way or another, in regulation.

“Happy we won! Not the best experience but I’m glad we pulled it out,” she said. “This is just where preparation and practice and doing end-of-the-game situations in practice really prepped us for that moment, and I think it gave us a lot of confidence going into the end of the season.”

The Great Danes were down one point with 3.4 seconds left, but junior guard Kayla Cooper got to the line and made a free throw to send it to overtime, where UAlbany outscored Binghamton 11-1.

“I think that composure is just really important for us to know that we have that, and we just have to go back to that when we’re in pressure situations,” fifth-year guard Ellen Hahne said.

Sophomore guard Lilly Phillips has missed the last four games with a lower leg injury and won’t be available Wednesday, Mullen said. Redshirt junior guard Morgan Haney had a cold Saturday, playing 22 minutes and going 0-for-4 from the field with five rebounds and two assists; she is still sick and wasn’t at practice Tuesday.

Heeps, Hahne and senior guard Fatima Lee have all filled in at point guard at points this season, which started with the Great Danes missing three of their starting five.

“We always knew there was going to be a silver lining from the beginning of the year,” Mullen said.

The Retrievers are on a three-game winning streak, a run that started with a 74-57 win over Maine in which they scored 28 points off 19 Black Bears turnovers. They average 61.5 points per game, third in the conference. (Binghamton, previously in third, dropped down after the loss to UAlbany.)

Graduate guard KK White leads UMBC with 11.2 points per game, and graduate forward Kiara Bell is second with 11 ppg. Bell also averages 8.5 rebounds per game, third in the conference, and leads the league in offensive boards with 4.2 per game.

Bell was a problem for UAlbany earlier in the season, scoring 12 points in 21 minutes but sitting much of the game in foul trouble. The Great Danes fell behind by 10 points early in the first quarter and had to hold off several surges by UMBC in the fourth.

“They’re very talented individually, they’re very athletic, very quick and I think that was what we struggled with last time we played them, to play them kind of one-on-one,” Hahne said.

▶› Abigail.Rubel@timesunion.com

A @abigail_rubel

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Great article. First and foremost, our ladies have to win out, starting tonight. This will not be easy. Along the way, we’re hoping UMBC finishes 3rd, and that someone can beat Vermont. That “someone” will have to be either @ N.H.(tonight),  NJIT, @ Binghamton, or Bryant. I think the best bet there is Binghamton, based on a 9-3 home court record and the way they have played us twice. After tonight we are home vs. Maine and at NJIT, currently 7-5. 

Other remaining schedules, after tonight:

UMBC (9-4): N.H. (2-10) @ UML (1-11)

MAINE:(9-4): @ALBANY (11-2) N.H. (2-10) BINGHAMTON (6-6)

Tonight we need great defense, far fewer turnovers, and a couple of hot hands. Might be playing without 2 PG’s if Haney can’t make it. I’ll be paying far more attention to this game than that “other” UA game, in Troy. 



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