Written By: Azarr Johnson
“I couldn’t have asked them or imagined them playing a better game,they did everything I asked them to do, they competed, they stayed together and that momentum, to understand how hard we had to play for 40 minutes and how disappointed we are with what our record is, we lost a really lot of close games, we could have easily been in fourth place. The record aside, the momentum and the character of the team, knowing we did that as the 8th seed and to do this coming back to Long Island, I am just so proud, we show our personality, we showed who we are and to me that means the future is bright.” – UAlbany Coach Collen Mullen
Going into the game, this first round match ups of the American East Women’s Basketball playoff round, was supposed to be a breeze for the Stony Brook Sea wolves. UAlbany came into the game as the #8 seed and on a five game losing streak, the most recent being to Stony Brook 53-44, five days ago. Stony Brook came in as the #1 seed, a 28-3 record and their most recent victory, UAlbany’s most recent defeat. When the game started and the clock begin, seeding and the last game became irrelevant. By the way the game started, you could not tell who was the #8 seed and the #1 seed. UAlbany started the game on a 5-0 run and held Stony Brook scoreless, until the 4:45 mark of the first period. The Great Danes ended the period with an 11-5 lead, with one of their top scoring threats leading the charge with six points. The defensive presence that the Great Danes set, carried over to the second period, as the Danes continued with their supervised lead, building it all the way to 20. The Danes, like in past seasons were dominating, but at around the 8:35 mark, the momentum was changing, Stony Brook was making defensive stops and even though offensively they were not taking or making high percentage shots, they were still able to cut the lead from 20 to 9, by the 4:52 mark. By halftime the Sea wolves had cut the lead down even further, with their offense leading the charge and went from trailing from 9 to 3 (24-21), with Cheyenee Clark leading the charge, with seven.
After halftime, UAlbany was fighting to keep the lead and continue the dominating play from most of the first half and they did. They were controlling the pace and defensively contesting all of Stony Brooks shots and offensively making key shots for every time Stony Brook got close, within taking the lead or tying the game. For the second half, both teams were leaving it all on the floor, they were both showing that they did not want go home and be their last game of the season. By the fourth period, Stony Brook had broken through, tying the game at 45, when Hillaire stole the ball from Frames at the 1:28 mark. This play not only tied the game, but was the turning point, because after that play, Stony Brook, never looked back. In overtime, the game stayed tied at 45, for most of the period, but as expected, with the way the game is going, it came down to a critical play in the last seconds. Annstasia Warren makes the shot and scored seven straight points to help take the lead 52-49 and then the following play Hillaire hit two foul shots to seal the victory 54-49.
After the game, UAlbany came in even though disappointed, they still had their head up high and rightfully so, after almost knocking off the #1 seed in the conference. As guard Kyara Frames put it, nobody gave Hartford a chance to beat Stony Brook and they had not won a game all season and came out with the win, we felt like why couldn’t we do the same. Coach Mullen has definitely something to build upon next season, with this young and talented squad. Stony Brook on the other hand won to advance to the second round and play another game, getting one step closer to winning the tournament and earning the NCAA tournament bid. Next opponent is the #4 seed Binghamton Bear cats, Kai Moon and company, stay tuned!