Saturday, December 12, 2009

University of Albany Women's Basketball Holds Off Wagner to Remain Unbeaten at SEFCU Arena - UAlbany Sports 2009

Albany, N.Y. - Charity Iromuanya netted a season-high 17 points and Julie Forster registered her first career double-double on 11 points and 11 rebounds in leading UAlbany to a 63-56 win over Wagner in non-conference women's basketball action on Saturday, Dec. 12 at SEFCU Arena. The Great Danes, who held off a late run after leading by as many as 23 in the second half, remain unbeaten at home and have outscored their opponents by an average margin of 17.7 points in those contests.

UAlbany (4-4), which led 34-23 at halftime after closing out the opening stanza on a 12-1 run, scored the first four points of the second half. After missing 14 consecutive shots, Kelly Clark netted the Seahawks' first field goal in almost eight minutes at the 17:11 mark and followed up with another score the next time down the floor to make it an 11-point game.

The Great Danes responded with a 10-2 run, which was sparked by Tabitha Makopondo's conventional three-point play, to go ahead by a 48-29 score with just over 13 minutes left in the contest. A fastbreak layup by Ebone Henry, who made her first career start, gave the hosts a 23-point cushion at 56-33 with under nine minutes to play.

Wagner (2-7), which suffered its fourth straight loss, initiated an effective fullcourt press to make a big run at the end. A fastbreak layup by Kanifa Hicks following a steal with 4:58 on the clock cut the lead to 16 points, forcing the Great Danes to call a timeout. Iromuanya made an open layup with 2:12 left to put the Great Danes ahead, 63-48, before the Seahawks made a furious attempt to rally. The visitors scored the last eight points of the game before time ran out on them.

"We came out strong and really focused, but we let them come back by playing sloppy in the end," said Iromuanya, the team's captain. "Overall, everybody was on the same page and we worked really hard."

The first half featured two quick lead changes and three ties. Andrea Reed, who has led the Northeast Conference in assists the past two seasons, hit a jumper to put Wagner ahead by a 6-4 score before the Great Danes went on a 12-2 run with four players scoring during the stretch to take the lead for good.

Wagner was able to tie the score at 22 when Veronick Fournier canned a three-pointer from the left corner, but the Great Danes came back by scoring 10 straight and 12 of the half's final 13 points while forcing the visitors to miss their last seven shots. Iromuanya added five points and an assist on a fastbreak layup by Henry to give the Great Danes an 11-point lead at the break.

"We had several players who were not 100 percent, and we were low on numbers," explained head coach Trina Patterson, whose team will now gear up to host an Army squad which played neck-and-neck with 16th-ranked Oklahoma until the final six minutes of the contest two days ago. "We did not keep our energy level up. You can't make excuses, but I am happy that we were able hang on (to get the win). We really improved our shooting from the perimeter."

In addition to her game-high 17 points, Iromuanya grabbed eight rebounds and recorded four steals to lead the way for UAlbany. Henry netted 14 points to go along with seven rebounds and three steals. Forster added two blocks to her double-double performance.

Wagner was paced by Reed, who led the team with 13 points, five assists and three steals. Ashley Olsen pulled down 14 boards, including 10 in the first half, and finished with six points. Kelly Clark contributed nine points and five rebounds off the bench.

"I am looking forward to our next game against (Army)," added Patterson, who will look to guide the Great Danes to their fourth straight win at home to open the season next Saturday. "They are a mentally tough team, but we will be ready for them."

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

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