Saturday, February 6, 2010

Women's Basketball Falls to Vermont's Second-Half Rally in 13th Annual Big Purple Growl

Albany, N.Y. - Courtnay Pilypatis had 17 of her 24 points in the second half as Vermont rallied for a 72-63 America East Conference victory over UAlbany on Saturday, Feb. 6 at SEFCU Arena. The contest was the first half of the annual Big Purple Growl doubleheader.

Vermont (19-5, AE 9-2) trailed by as much as 10 in the final period and was still behind 55-52 with 9:02 remaining. But the Catamounts, who have won five of their last six outings, seized the lead with 13 consecutive points. May Kotsopoulos canned a three-point field goal from the left corner to put her team ahead. Pilypatis talied the final six points, including a 3-pointer around a screen from right of the key that gave her club a 65-55 advantage.

UAlbany (7-15, AE 0-9) led 39-36 early in the half before scoring nine of the game's next 11 points. Julie Forster, a freshman who recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 rebounds, connected in transition after a steal. The Great Danes' full-court pressure led to two more baskets and a 48-38 margin with 13:24 to play. Ebone Henry converted a layup after her steal and Charity Iromuanya completed a fastbreak following another theft.

"We are at the bottom of the conference, but we do not feel like we belong there," said Iromuanya after the Great Danes lost their fifth league game and third straight by single digits. "We have been in a lot of close games, but we just keep beating ourselves. We came out strong in the second half. However, their fullcourt press gave us problems."

In the opening period, Vermont led 17-12 after Pilypatis hit a driving one-hander in the lane. The Great Danes then ripped off 12 unanswered. Felicia Johnson connected on a baseline drive and buried a three-pointer from the left corner to put her team in front. Kim Clements finished a fastbreak after Henry's steal to complete the outburst.

The Catamounts, who are receiving votes in both national polls, regrouped with a 12-2 run. Pilypatis converted a driving one-hander to draw her team even and Kendra Seto sank a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to put her team in front. UAlbany took a 30-29 halftime lead when Iromuanya connected on a spin move and Johnson made a 14-footer in transition. The first half featured five lead changes and three ties.

"This was a positive game for us and a step in the right direction against a dominant team in the conference," added head coach Trina Patterson, whose squad will continue its four-game homestand on Wednesday, Feb. 10 againt Stony Brook. "We just went through a 10-minute stretch where we let it all get away from us, and the best player in the conference [Courtnay Pilypaitis] took over."

Johnson had a career-high 20 points for the Great Danes, who lost 92-47 in the first meeting this season with UVM on Jan. 10. Iromuanya added 16 points and eight rebounds. Tonya Young had 17 points, on 8-of-10 shooting, for the Catamounts, who have won six straight in the series. Pilypatis added 12 rebounds and six assists to her scoring total.

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

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