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Women’s Basketball Cruises Past UMass Lowell On Senior Day

By Christian Hince | February 26, 2024

The University at Albany steadily gained steam against UMass Lowell on Saturday en route to a 59-39 victory. It was a needed turnaround after a 32-point blowout at Vermont which was one of the worst conference losses in head coach Colleen Mullen’s time leading the program.

Deja Evans led the Great Danes with 15 points and seven rebounds.

Photo Credit: Christian Hince / The ASP

“Lucky for us, we got to come back home,” Mullen said.

The game had an unusual start when Helene Haegerstrand shot and made two free-throws before the ball was tipped, thanks to the River Hawks not registering all five of their starters by the 10 minute mark of the first quarter. 

The Great Danes led for all but 35 seconds of game time and never trailed. UML had two ties which both occurred within the first four minutes of the game, and trailed 18-14 at the end of the first quarter after going 6-12 from the field. The River Hawks were silent afterwards however, shooting 25.6 percent the rest of the game. 

“I think the more we communicated with each other it made our defense a lot better,” Kayla Cooper said. The Great Danes held UML scoreless for just over 10 minutes between the third and fourth quarters, scoring 14 straight to go up 53-30 with a little more than five minutes left in the game.

Despite falling short of 60 for the seventh time in nine games, UAlbany’s 55.6% shooting mark was their most efficient of the season. “We were just able to be in a rhythm and hit our shots,” Deja Evans said after leading in scoring with 15 points on 6-10 shooting and recording a team-best seven rebounds.

Cooper, playing possibly her last regular season game in Albany, was second in scoring with 10 points on 4-7 shooting and had a team-leading five assists. “It was a really emotional day, but we all knew we still had to handle business,” she said.

Cooper was honored pregame alongside fifth-years Haegerstrand and Sarah Karpell. Mullen praised Cooper’s development, Haegerstrand’s role in shaping UAlbany’s winning reputation, and Karpell’s quickness in becoming a program leader through her sole season in the program.

“I can’t wait to see all the wonderful things that they do in their life and how awesome basketball is to give them these great life skills to go on to conquer a professional life and a personal life of success and happiness,” Mullen said.

Saturday’s comfortable victory came in stark contrast from Thursday night’s 67-35 loss at Vermont. Their defeat against the conference defending champions marked UAlbany’s worst margin of loss in an America East game since Mullen’s first season coaching the Great Danes, when her team lost 82-35 at Hartford in January 2019. 

“We needed to learn from it and then flush it down and flush it away and forget about it, not allow it to let us lose our confidence or take anything away from who we are, what our season’s been,” Mullen said.

UAlbany’s win came on a day where Vermont lost 57-52 at Bryant. “Holy smokes, that’s crazy,” Mullen said of the result.

The Great Danes are now 23-4 overall and 12-2 in conference, and would clinch a top-two seed in the America East tournament upon winning at New Hampshire next Thursday, which would ensure at least two home games in the tournament. The top spot is still up for grabs with Maine at 12-2 in league and UAlbany closing out the regular season at the Black Bears next Saturday.

“Now we need to really get the players healthy, rested [and] regrouped,” Mullen said. “This is going to be a very challenging road trip.”


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