“I mean today is a win we have been wanting all season, a game we have been wanting to win since we
started the season with Hofstra. This is a game we wanted to win badly especially after our last loss and
our undefeated streak being broken at home” – Grace Heeps
The storyline going into the game, was this was a must win for both teams, even though they were both in the top three spots, in the conference. For Stony Brook, this game was so critical, after it being finalized that they were ineligible to compete in the America East tournament. Even though they sit on top the American East with a 23-4 overall record and 14-3 conference record, if they wanted to have any chance of a postseason in the WNIT or a slight to slim chance of getting a bid to the NCAA tournament, they were going to have to finish strong against the Great Danes. Especially since they lost there previous game against Umass Lowell, The Great Danes on the other hand, also needed this victory just as bad, for tournament seeding. With a win they could keep there second place spot and solidify two home games for the post season and to ward off Vermont who is chasing them with a good chance, to take there spot, after the Great Danes lost to Maine, Wednesday night.
When the game begin, Stony Brook started the game off strong, with a 6-0 run. UAlbany did not score there first point, until the seven minute mark and were down 11-1 by the middle of the first period, when they called there first timeout of the game, Wool was leading the charge with five points. After the first timeout UAlbany, reset and regroup, as they responded with a 12-0 run. It was a total team effort, with DeCortes, Heeps and Hahne, being the major contributors. Their defense got them back into the game, especially Decortes with her post play and rebounding. She led the team with four points and four rebounds, Stony Brook on the other hand went on a drought and scored only two point after the first timeout by UAlbany, in which Pagan scored at the end of the period. She was also leading the team with six points and the period ending in 13-13 tie between the two teams.
The second period was more of the same energy as the first, as both teams were going back and forth, making plays on both sides of the ball. The game had gotten competitive and physical and had the American East Championship vibe to it. By the 4:44 mark the great Danes had taken a 20-17 lead, with the help of Fatima Lee, hitting a three point shot. It seemed like Albany was going to pull away and create a bigger lead, but Pagan stepped up and made key shots to keep them in the game, at that point she lead the team with 8. With 2:18 left in the second period, Stony Brook had taken the lead and momentum, with the usual contributors involved Bushee, Pagan and Erin Turral. Their play had helped them create a six point lead 26-20 and finish the half with a 26-22 lead.
For most of the third period, the game was close, both teams had picked up where they left off at, battling it out for most of the period. Even though the game was close midway through the third period, it was then that Stony Brook started to pull away , as they finished the third period with a 47-33 lead. They outscored the Great Danes 21-11 in the period and once again Bushee played a major contributor to this run with rebounding, defense and scoring, also Burrel and Warren did damage also, with their contributions. At the beginning of the fourth period it was looking like Stony Brook it seemed they were going to put this game away, but then Ualbany turned it up and took the momentum of the game. They went on a 6-0 run before the first timeout of the period and then going on to score five straight before the next timeout, outscoring them 11-9 at that point, but were still down by 8 (56-44). Even though multiple player contributed, it was mainly Bushee presence/effort that was keeping Stony Brook in front, even with the runs UAlbany was making. It seemed like Stony Brook was going to pull it out in the end with a 56-50 lead, but then the Great Danes scored six points in the final two minutes to win the game. One of the major key plays of the victory was Grace Heeps three point shot with 51 seconds left and then she followed up with the assist to Haegerstrand, who scored on the inbound winning pass and also led the team with 18 points to end the game. As Heeps stated after the game, once she saw the small guard Gonzalez on Haegerstrand, she knew she was gonna throw the ball to her.
With the loss, Stony Brook fell to second place in the conference and also with this loss it most likely killed their chances, if any of earning an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament and also did damage to earning a WNIT bid. India Pagan who was clearly and understandably emotionally frustrated, along with Coach Langford, who was also fighting back emotions, told it all. Coach Langford said it best, her players were robbed of competing for a championship. The Great Danes on the other hand had so much to celebrate with there victory, as Coach Mullen stated She will not stop smiling until Monday, as she had plenty to smile about. She not only solidified the number two spot for the American East Conference tournament, basically locking home court for the first two rounds, but she also had her first 20 win season with Albany program and finished two spots ahead of last season spot. Now the Great Danes will host New Hampshire, who although they have swept this season, are a scrappy team that never gives up and takes 40 minutes to beat, as Coach Mullen as also stated. The good news is though that they get to take on this challenge at home and this time in front of a fan base. Stay tuned!
Junior Forward Helene Haegerstrand Discusses UALBANY WBB Overcoming Adversity To Defeat Stony Brook
UALBANY Coach Colleen Mulleen Talks On Team Win Over Stony Brook
Ashley Langford Discusses Team Lost To UALBANY, and Stony Brooks Season