UAlbany Women's Basketball Opens Season 3-0 for the First Time Since 2015

By Zöe Bailey | November 21, 2022


Photo credit: Bruce Dudek


The University at Albany’s women’s basketball won their first three games against Merrimack, Siena, and Navy, marking their best opening week in seven years.


UAlbany Women's Basketball Wins Season Opener on Veteran’s Day


UAlbany won their first game at home against Merrimack this last Veteran's Day, taking the game 67-53.


Starting off strong, sophomore Lilly Phillips notched UAlbany their first points with a jumper within the first ten seconds. This momentum kept up throughout the rest of the quarter, where after being down by a small amount, UAlbany leapt ahead, with Fatima Lee making a three pointer, and two free throws from Tainya Hanner that gave UAlbany the momentum to stay in the lead for the rest of the game, ending the first quarter with a 17-10 lead.


The second quarter, UAlbany found themselves defending their position, Merrimack and UAlbany scored back and forth before the Great Danes earned nine unanswered points. The Warriors closed the gap with multiple free throws in the quarter, ending at halftime with the score of 34-23 in UAlbany’s favor.


After the break, the Great Danes found themselves once more scoring back and forth in the third quarter,they scored five points in eight minutes and got multiple stops on the other end of the court. The teams continued to trade points as UAlbany pulled away with the lead 50-30.


The fourth quarter was a weak scoring point for both teams, with the Great Danes scoring 11 and the Warriors taking 9 points. UAlbany tallied three baskets in the first minute, showing their strength once more at the beginning of the set, leading the quarter by as much as 19 points. Merrimack’s attempts to regain some footing led them to make two baskets in the final two minutes. This did nothing to change the Great Dane’s victory, which the game ended with the scores 67-53.


UAlbany graduate student Ellen Hahne led the team with 24 points, going 9 of 15 from the field, including two three-pointers and four free throws. Behind her, sophomore Freja Werth notched 17 points for the Great Danes, shooting 7/12 from the field, including one three-pointer and two free throws. Junior Taniya Hanner and Phillips led the team with three offensive rebounds, leaving Hanner with a total of seven rebound totals and senior Grace Heeps with six. Hahne and sophomore Abby Ray led assists with four each, while Werth and Heeps posted one block each, with freshman Mari Sepp notching two steals.


Great Danes Women’s Basketball Takes Albany Cup Against Siena


The Great Danes won again Sunday, this time against Siena in the Albany Cup, 64-57. Ellen Hahne scored first, draining a three-pointer at the 8:24 mark. Another three, this time from Freja Werth a minute later, set the tone for a dominant first quarter. Even with some back and forth, UAlbany led by as much as 10 over the Saints, finishing the first quarter up 18-9.


Karyn Sanford knocked down a three-pointer 11 seconds into the second quarter, extending the Great Danes lead. With four more successful free throws, UAlbany held a 14-point lead, before Siena trimmed the deficit to 25-15 by the midway part of the period. The Great Danes surged again, pulling three-straight layups to gain a 31-17 advantage into halftime.


The third quarter began in UAlbany’s favor with Grace Heeps’ three-pointer. After five straight possessions leading to points. UAlbany extended their lead to 21, ending the quarter up 51-35 after a couple Saints baskets.


Siena made it interesting in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Great Danes, 22-12. Remaining a consistent back and forth game in the earlier half of the last quarter, Siena went on a seven-point run to close the lead to seven points with a little over four minutes on the clock. UAlbany remained strong and the Saints were unable to put the final score in their favor.


Once again, graduate student Ellen Hahne led the team, this time with 23 points, going 9-15 from the field with two three-pointers in addition to three free throws. Werth posted 11 rebounds, with Hanner and Hahne following behind with eight respectively. Heeps and Hahne added a block each, with Hahne tallied two steals while Werth and freshman Lilly Phillips followed with one each. Hahne and Phillips shared a team-high four assists.


UAlbany Women’s Basketball Win by 14 Against Navy


UAlbany faced off at Navy on Wednesday, starting 3-0 for the first time since 2015. Freshman Lilly Phillips grabbed the first points with a layup a little over a minute into the game. After a Navy basket, the Great Danes re-took the lead with a layup from Taniya Hanner just before the midway point of the first quarter. Fatima Lee extended UAlbany’s lead with a three-pointer before Hanner made two free throws that made it a 9-2 game, ending the quarter with six-straight points.


The second quarter did not see much scoring early on. After trading points in the latter half of the quarter, the Great Danes extended their lead to 17 before a couple baskets from the Mids. The Great Danes ended the half with a 33-20 advantage.


Coming off the break, UAlbany pushed hard, they scored eight points in five minutes, with defense preventing any sort of comeback from Navy. Going back and forth for the final three minutes of play in the third quarter, UAlbany finished it with a 20 point lead. The Mids also propelled forward in a response, their offensive efforts outscoring the Great Danes, 20-14, but it wasn’t enough as UAlbany took the victory, 64-50.


Ellen Hahne had another great game with 19 points and Fatima Lee followed with 11 points. Grace Heeps led with 10 defensive rebounds and notched two assists. Freja Werth, Hanner and Abby Ray all took two offensive rebounds, a team-high, while Heeps and Phillips tying with two assists, Phillips also finished with three steals. UAlbany’s bench put up 19.


Coach Colleen Mullen stated, “Tonight was a total team win. Everyone contributed to the road victory and it was great to see solid production from our young bench.”


The Great Danes will return home to battle Colgate, Saturday, Nov. 19.


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