UAlbany Sports Information
ALBANY, N.Y. – Playing in their second consecutive home game to open the conference schedule, the University at Albany women’s basketball program (8-7, 2-0 AE) defeated in-state rival Stony Brook (7-8, 0-2 AE) to remain undefeated both at home and in-conference this season, and to extend the home winning streak to 24.
“It feels good to get that win at home,” said head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee. “I thought the crowd was really engaged today. Our bench was going crazy. The players played great. It was truly a team effort.”
For the third time in the last three games, and the eighth time this season, the Great Danes debuted a new starting lineup for the opening tip. After sophomore Heather Forster won the tipoff, redshirt-junior Jessica Féquière drained a three pointer to give UAlbany an immediate 3-0 lead. Through the first five minutes of the game, Féquière had scored five of UAlbany’s nine points.
In their last game, the Seawolves held New Hampshire to just 10 points in the first half, a point total the Great Danes exceeded midway through the first quarter after a Féquière lay up. Stony Brook took its first lead with 2:30 remaining in the first quarter. At the end of the quarter, Stony Brook led 18-15. Féquière had scored nine of UAlbany’s points. Stony Brook was a perfect 8-8 from the free-throw line.
Starting at the mid-way point of the second quarter, the Great Danes put together a 10-3 run to open up a 31-23 lead. Towards the end of the quarter, Stony Brook inched back, and UAlbany took a 31-29 lead into halftime.
Féquière led all scorers with 17 points on 6-9 shooting, just six off her career-high for a full game. Senior Cassandra Edwards was second on the team with four points. Féquière also led with six rebounds. Senior Imani Tate, who was shooting just 1-7 from the floor, led the team with six assists. Junior Tiana-Jo Carter recorded two blocks in the first half, including the 100th of her career.
“I always know everyone on the team is going to help out, regardless of the situation,” said Tate. “And I tell Jess all the time to be ready because I’m going to pass to her. And she’s always ready. To have someone like that, it takes pressure off of me and everyone else.”
“I was just playing my game,” said Féquière, “and whatever they were giving me I would just take it. I was just going hard, and crashing the boards, and doing what I can to help my teammates.”
UAlbany led Stony Brook in points in the paint 20-12 and in second chance points 6-4. Stony Brook led in fast break points 2-0 and in bench points 13-8. Each team scored 10 points off of turnovers. Perhaps the largest discrepancy came at the free-throw line, where UAlbany was a perfect 4-4, but Stony Brook was 15-17.
UAlbany opened the third quarter on a 9-2 run. Stony Brook followed with a matching 9-2 run to bring the game back within two. Féquière stopped the bleeding with a lay up off a turnover to give the Great Danes a 44-40 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Stony Brook immediately hit a three-pointer at the beginning of the fourth to cut the lead to one. Redshirt-junior Bose Aiyalogbe next hit a lay up to extend the lead back to three. After a defensive stop, Forster hit a lay up to give the Great Danes a five-point lead. Before three minutes had elapsed in the quarter, UAlbany had opened a seven-point lead.
“As I was playing, I kept hearing encouragement from my teammates and coaches,” said Forster, “and that helped me realize that I could keep playing well because they had my back.”
With one minute remaining, the Great Danes led by eight points. Tate scored UAlbany’s final eight points, including six consecutive free throws, as the game clock expired to ultimately give the team a 10-point, 64-54 victory.
“It’s gratifying to see that this game was a group effort,” said Coach Mac, “and to know that we can win in different ways.”
Féquière finished the game with a career-high 24 points, and also led the Great Danes with nine rebounds. Tate finished with 12 points, eight of which came in the last three minutes of the fourth quarter, and led the team with eight assists.
The Great Danes outscored the Seawolves 40-20 in points in the paint, 27-23 in points off of turnovers, and 12-8 in second chance points. Stony Brook held advantages of 4-2 in fast break points, and 22-10 in bench points. UAlbany was a perfect 10-10 from the free-throw line for the game, while Stony Brook shot 23-25 from the charity stripe.
“I really thought our defense turned up a notch tonight,” said Coach Mac. “They scored 23 points from the free-throw line tonight, but if you take that away I thought our half-court defense looked pretty good.”
Next, the Great Danes will play their first road game on the conference slate with a visit to New Hampshire on Wednesday, January 11. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.