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Jersey Mike's America East WBB Tournament Quarter Final: UAlbany #2 vs NJIT #7 Broadview Center Albany NY Friday, March 8, 2024, 7:00 PM

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Danes’ Cooper selected to all-America East first team


By Pete Dougherty


Jim Franco/Times Union archive

UAlbany senior Kayla Cooper was also selected to the America East all-academic team.

Player of the Year: G Anne Simon, Gr., Maine

Newcomer of the Year: G Anna Blount, Gr., UMBC

Defensive Player of the Year: G Anne Simon, Gr., Maine

Sixth Player of the Year: G Keira Hanson, So., Vermont

Rookie of the Year: G Mia Mancini, Fr., Bryant

Coach of the Year: Amy Vachon, Maine

First team all-conference: G Kayla Cooper, Sr., UAlbany; F Mariona Planes Fortuny, Sr., Bryant; G Anne Simon, Gr., Maine; F Adrianna Smith, Jr., Maine; G Emma Utterback, Gr., Vermont

Second team all-conference: F Anna Blount, Gr., UMBC; G Denai Bowman, Gr., Binghamton; F Anna Olson, Sr., Vermont; G Jadyn Weltz, So., Binghamton; G Alejandra Zuniga, So., NJIT

Third team all-conference: G Mili Carrera, Gr., UMass Lowell; F Genevieve Coleman, Jr., Binghamton; F Deja Evans, Fr., UAlbany; F Helene Haegerstrand, Gr., UAlbany, G Keira Hanson, So., Vermont; G Mia Mancini, Fr., Bryant

All-defensive team: G Denai Bowman, Gr., Binghamton; F Deja Evans, Fr., UAlbany; F Anna Olson, Sr., Vermont; G Anne Simon, Gr., Maine; G Sydney Watkins, Jr., UMass Lowell

All-rookie team: F Rayne Durant, Binghamton; F Deja Evans, UAlbany; G Abbey Lindsey, UMass Lowell; G Mia Mancini, Bryant; F Nia Scott, Bryant

All-academic team: G Kayla Cooper, Sr., UAlbany; F Anna Olson, Sr., Vermont; F Delaney Richason, Gr., Vermont; G Anne Simon, Gr., Maine; F Adrianna Smith, Jr., Vermont

Kayla Cooper has been selected to the all-America East first team, highlighting three University at Albany basketball players honored with conference awards announced Wednesday.

Graduate forward Helene Haegerstrand and freshman forward Deja Evans were selected to the all-conference third team. Evans also was placed on the all-freshman and all-defensive teams.


Cooper, a senior forward from Federick, Md., who was selected to the preseason all-conference team, also is on the all-academic team.

For the fifth time in seven years, Amy Vachon of Maine was selected Coach of the Year, beating out UAlbany’s Colleen Mullen, who led the Great Danes to a 24-5 record. Maine graduate guard Anne Simon won Player of the Year, an award she also captured two seasons ago.

All of the postseason awards were selected by the conference coaches, who could not vote for their own players.

Cooper, who has one year of eligibility remaining should she choose to exercise it, averaged 15.7 points per game (fourth in the conference) and 7.6 rebounds (second). She was first-team all-conference last season and selected to the second team as a sophomore. Her 3.41 grade-point average helped land her a berth on the all-academic team.

Haegerstrand, from Stockholm, Sweden, last season was first-team all-conference and the women’s basketball scholar-athlete of the year. She averaged 9.2 points and 3.8 rebounds.

Evans, from Conshohocken, Pa., started all 26 games she played — missing three games because of a concussion — and averaged 8.5 points and 7.2 rebounds, ranking fourth in the conference in the latter. She was second in the league with 1.6 blocked shots per game.

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Danes have a sense of urgency

UAlbany hosts NJIT in America East quarterfinal Friday at Broadview Center


By Pete Dougherty

ALBANY — Postseason basketball comes with a sense of urgency, especially to those who can see the finish line to their college careers. University at Albany fifth-year players Helene Haegerstrand and Sarah Karpell can feel the abruptness as they approach March Madness.

The America East Tournament begins Friday night with the quarterfinals, in which second-seeded UAlbany will play host to No. 7 New Jersey Institute of Technology.


A loss could end a stellar season for the Great Danes (24-5, 13-3) — there’s still the possibility of the WNIT, but that’s a discussion for another time — while a victory will allow the two graduate students and their teammates to continue their careers in hopes of an NCAA Tournament bid.

“The opportunity of getting a fifth year is that you feel like you have something more to give,” said Haegerstrand, a Swede who has 1,536 points in her 140-game UAlbany career. “Now we’re at that point where the playoff starts, and this is the year you realize that this is the last one. You try to make it as special as you can and just take it in every moment.”

“It’s definitely sinking in that this is it,” said Karpell, who transferred after four years at Fordham in hopes of a postseason opportunity. “We’ve got hopefully three weeks left of our season, so just give it our all and try our best, and that’s all we can do.”

NJIT (12-17, 4-12) provides an interesting test for the Danes, who beat the Highlanders 77-36 on Jan. 6 in Albany but had a narrow escape Feb. 15 in Newark, taking a 38-36 victory.

After the first NJIT game, UAlbany was averaging 68.7 points per game. In the 14 games since then, thanks to injuries and other factors, the Danes have averaged 54.7.

Through it all, UAlbany has maintained its No.1position nationally in scoring defense (51.2).

“Our offensive output has significantly gone down, for multiple reasons,” UAlbany coach Colleen Mullen said. “When we played NJIT the first time, we hadn’t had any major injuries and our chemistry was building. We had gone undefeated in December.

“Then right at that NJIT game, Deja (Evans, 6-2 freshman) got injured and missed three or four games. The face of our team changed. We went from being balanced with our chemistry to focusing more on small ball. When Deja comes back in, Meghan (Huerter) goes out, and now we’re playing big ball again where we have three post players.

“People started having specific scouts on us — not defending Sarah, not defending Abby (Ray), not defending Deja outside the free-throw line, not defending Kayla (Cooper) outside the free-throw line. We’ve had to adjust multiple times what we’re doing.”

The Danes are back healthy, although they carry only 10 players on the roster. Cooper, selected first team all-conference Wednesday, leads UAlbany in scoring (15.7) and rebounding (7.6). Huerter, coming off the bench, ranks second in Division I in 3-point percentage (.471).

Evans also is at full strength, although she is coming off an 0-for-12 shooting performance Saturday in the Danes’ 63-46 loss at Maine.

“The season’s so long, she’s a freshman,” Mullen said. “She just got honored with all-rookie, all-defensive and America East third team. That’s a huge honor for her, but when you go 0-for-12 from the floor, that hurts you. People are challenging her to shoot over them. Her scoring isn’t what’s going to make or break us. She needs to bring it defensively, she needs to bring it for rebounding. She has to play with toughness, and that’s the most important thing.”

“She’s having a lot of responsibility being a freshman, but she’s handling it great,” Haegerstrand said. “She’s such a good player and person.”


When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Broadview Center, Albany

TV: ESPN+ (streaming)

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7 hours ago, UAalum72 said:

Huerter went out late, but it was just a cramp, she should be fine

Final score UAlbany 57 - NJIT 42, the wear and tear of playing 30 games so far is showing, hoping Mullen makes it a soft practice on Saturday.

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Friday, March 8, 2024 Women's Basketball
  Away Home Result Location Links
Orono, ME Box Score Full Game Archive
Smithfield, RI Box Score Highlights
Burlington, VT Box Score Highlights
Albany, NY Box Score Full Game Archive
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  • cwdickens changed the title to Jersey Mike's America East WBB Tournament Quarter Final: UAlbany #2 vs NJIT #7 Broadview Center Albany NY Friday, March 8, 2024, 7:00 PM

Great defensive intensity with only a few lapses. The bricks started to turn to gold. Congrats! Yes, they def look like they are wearing down. A deeper bench would be a benefit. 

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Thought we had a miracle brewing last night in Maine. UML had them tied 19-19 at the half. Close throughout before Maine won by 6. 
Nice finish after a sloppy start for UA last night. Once again ladies, bring that A-Game Monday night!! The key to victory Monday? Score 60 points? Somehow, someway.  

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