UAlbany Women’s basketball wins 7th straight Albany Cup

Photo by Liana Bonavita

ALBANY, N.Y. – Siena Women’s Basketball dropped a heartbreaker in overtime as UAlbany reclaimed the Albany Cup 88-86. Saints and UAlbany both shot 50-percent from the floor.

Jackie Benitez continues to lead the Saints offense as she scored 23 points. Three more Saints scored in double-digits. Denisha Petty-Evans tied her career-high 19 points, while Meghan Donohue set a new career-high with 17 points. Kollyns Scarbrough chipped in 15 points for Siena, including nine free-throws made, a new career-high. The Saints 86 points scored is the most points scored in a game since March 6, 2014 when Siena scored 87 against Manhattan in the MAAC Tournament.

Siena shot 11-for-12 (91.7) from the floor during the third quarter and a perfect five-for-five from the charity stripe in the third quarter. Siena scored the most points this season in both the first quarter and third quarter.

UAlbany was led by Imani Tate who scored 24 points. The Great Danes shot 79.2-percent from the free-throw line after going 19-for-24.

The Saints and UAlbany would head to overtime for the first time since December 5, 2009.

The Great Danes would strike first in overtime, but the Saints would not let the five-time defending  America East Champions walk away with the trophy that easy. Petty-Evans forced a turnover and drained an easy layup to put Siena back in the lead 79-78 with just under three minutes left. UAlbany took the lead back on a trey from Trpcic and never gave up that lead. The Saints had a chance to tie it up as Benitez was sent to the charity stripe with five seconds left. She made two of the three free-throws and Siena remained down 87-86.  The Saints would fight hard but fell 88-86 to UAlbany on the road for the first time the programs met at SEFCU Arena.

In the see-saw contest, Siena remained on top for most of the fourth quarter. With 4:30 left in the game, the Great Danes began their comeback. The Saints were able to keep the lead, but with 14 seconds on the clock, the Saints were up by just one 71-70. After two made free-throws by Petty-Evans, Siena led 73-70 with 12 seconds left. Imani Tate, who drained back-to-back three’s was fouled with just eight seconds left at the three-point line. Tate made all three free-throws and tied the ballgame 73-73. Petty-Evans took a shot in the final seconds but was unable to get it in the basket.

Donohue came in strong in the post for the Saints and tied her season-high 16 points made with just over six minutes left in the third quarter. The third quarter would be all Green and Gold. The Saints went ahead 53-51 with a three from Jackie Benitez. Siena reclaimed the lead 58-51 heading into the fourth quarter. The Saint’s 27 points in the third quarter are the most points scored by Siena in any quarter this season.

The tables were turned in the second quarter as UAlbany started off on a 5-0 run. Siena was able to keep the lead for most of the second quarter. The Saints and Great Danes were tied for the first time at the 5:04 mark. While the Great Danes were able to tie it, Siena continued to deny them the lead. At the 2:10 mark, UAlbany took their first lead of the game. Siena trailed 34-31 at the half.

The Green and Gold started off the game on a 4-0 run. Siena continued to keep the Great Danes at bay in the first quarter as the Saints were up 14-5. UAlbany had eight turnovers in the first quarter. Siena was up 22-14 after the first 10 minutes.

The Saints head back to the Alumni Recreation Center on Thursday, Dec. 1 to host MAAC opponent Fairfield in the annual conference weekend opener. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

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