ALBANY — Both UAlbany basketball teams are looking to bounce back from a tough loss — and each faces an uphill battle Saturday to get there.
Vermont teams travel to SEFCU Arena for a women’s basketball game at 1 p.m. and a men’s game at 7 p.m.
For the UAlbany women’s team, the game against the Catamounts is the Great Danes’ first game since dropping Wednesday for the 10th consecutive time in Maine. UAlbany, which has the best defense in the nation with 47.7 points per game, allowed the Black Bears to hit 56.3% of their shots in this game.
“Obviously it was a tough game for us,” University of Albany head coach Colleen Mullen said Friday. “But our players have returned to training [the next day] with a good attitude and ready to compete.
With first-place Stony Brook unable to make the America East Conference playoffs, UAlbany (9-3 league, 16-7 overall) heads into the weekend tied with Maine for the top seed. playoffs, but head coach Alisa Kresge’s Vermont (8-4, 14-9) is only one game back on those two programs. To make things a little more interesting, UAlbany and Vermont meet Monday in Burlington.
“We really have to bring our ‘A’ game and play for 40 minutes against them,” Mullen said. “But we’re really focused on one game at a time.”
UAlbany haven’t lost a single game at home this season. At SEFCU Arena, the Great Danes are a perfect 11-0, and Mullen’s club still controls its own destiny in terms of gaining home-court advantage for the duration of the conference playoffs.
Vermont has four players averaging at least 9.7 points per game and their starting lineup is a strong group. Sophomore forward Anna Olson leads Vermont in scoring and rebounding per game with 12 points and 6.6 rebounds, while junior guard Emma Utterback is averaging 11.7 points and a team-high 3 .7 assists per game.
For UAlbany, sophomore Kayla Cooper leads in scoring and rebounding per game with 12.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Helene Haegerstrand is UAlbany’s second-leading scorer with 11.3 points per game.
‘KEEP TO CUT’
After falling to last place for Maine on Wednesday at SEFCU Arena, University of Albany men’s guard Matt Cerruti says the Great Danes’ only choice is to move forward with a matchup against looming first place in Vermont.
“I know this loss hurts a lot, but it’s part of basketball – sometimes you lose, [sometimes] you win and Coach is just trying to tell us to keep cutting,” Cerruti said. “So as a team we try a lot to stay balanced. Win or lose, you have to prepare for the next game, it doesn’t matter who you play. So I think going into the [Vermont] game, we just have to go the same way we did last time and execute a little bit better.
UAlbany (6-6, 10-14) scared Vermont (11-0, 19-4) the first time the teams met. Playing its third road game in six days, UAlbany and Vermont were tied at 49 midway through the second half, but the Catamounts took control with a 16-2 run in what became a win. of 73-61 for the home team.
UAlbany had headed into that opener against Vermont with some momentum on his side. That’s not the case this time around after one of the team’s worst losses of the season, as Maine had only beaten one other Division I team this season before recording a win. double digits on the Great Danes field.
“We have to take the opportunity as a program when we go out Saturday night at 7 p.m. because it’s a very good program,” University of Albany head coach Dwayne Killings told About the Catamounts. “I think every time you have the opportunity to compete like that, you have to take advantage of it. . . . I do not think so [against Maine] we did, but Saturday is a different animal – and we’re going to have to figure that out before the ball goes up in the air at seven.
Reigning America East Player of the Year Ryan Davis leads Vermont with 17.4 points per game. In the teams’ opener, Davis had a team-high 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting.
UAlbany’s Cerruti scored a game-high 22 points against Vermont earlier this season, while Chuck Champion and Jamel Horton each scored 11.
Among active UAlbany players, Horton leads the team with 11.7 points per game and Cerruti is next with 11.3.
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