Saturday, February 7, 2009

Women's Basketball Edged By Binghamton in First Half of Big Purple Growl Doubleheader

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. -- Freshman guard Andrea Holmes scored 19 of her 24 points in the second half to lead Binghamton past UAlbany, 66-63, in America East Conference play on Saturday, Feb. 7 at SEFCU Arena. The contest was the first half of the school’s annual Big Purple Growl doubleheader.

UAlbany (3-19, AE 1-8) rallied from an 11-point deficit in the final period. Janea Aiken, who had 21 points on 8-of-18 shooting, converted a fastbreak layup for a 43-42 lead midway through the half. The final 20 minutes featured 10 lead changes and three ties.

Binghamton (10-12, AE 5-4) went back in front, 55-54, when Holmes made a one-handed jumper from the foul line on an inbounds play. The Great Danes regained the lead as Tabitha Makopondo, a freshman who had seven points and six rebounds, connected in the lane and Charity Iromuanya made two free throws.

After Darryll Peterson scored in the lane off a high-low exchange, UAlbany’s Britney McGee drilled a 22-footer for a 61-57 advantage. However, Holmes, who scored 20-plus for the third time this year, willed her team back. She made a three-point shot from right of the circle off a screen.

McGee, who totaled nine points and six assists, scored off a lob pass from Aiken for a 63-60 cushion. But Holmes came up with a rare four-point play when she was fouled while sinking a long-range 3-pointer from left of the key. After Holmes split a pair of free throws for a 65-63 lead, Aiken could not connect on a right baseline drive with 5.4 seconds remaining.

"I thought we played with a lot of heart," said UAlbany coach Trina Patterson. "The chemistry was pretty good - but that one play where Holmes hit (a four-point play), as well as Janea missing a bunny layup, hurt us. This was a gut-check game for us, so it was pretty disheartening."

The Bearcats, who shot 55 percent from the field in the opening half, broke an 11-11 tie with 10 of the game’s next 12 points. Muffy Sadler canned a three-point field goal from the top of the arc to put her team ahead. Jaki Goldner, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, scored three consecutive baskets, including a turnaround on the baseline that gave her club a 21-13 advantage with 6:16 left in the period.

The Great Danes, who made just 9-of-32 from the floor in the stanza, worked their way back into the contest. Aiken buried a three-pointer after an offensive rebound, before Iromuanya followed a missed long-range shot that closed the gap to 23-21. Binghamton’s Holmes sank a 3-pointer from left of the key off the dribble and Erica Carter later made a 16-footer in transition. The Bearcats took a 28-23 lead to the locker room.

Goldner finished with 13 points and five rebounds for the Bearcats, who also won this year’s first meeting between these teams. Tiffanie Johnson had 12 points and eight rebounds for the Great Danes, who have dropped seven in a row. Iromuanya turned in her best effort since early December with 10 points, six rebounds and four assists.

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