DURHAM, N.H.-- Maren Matthias (Guilford, Conn.) scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team to an impressive, come-from-behind victory over Albany on Wednesday evening in Lundholm Gymnasium, 65-54. It was the America East Conference opener for both teams, as UNH improved to 5-5 overall and 1-0 in the conference, while Albany fell to 3-7 and 0-1 in the league.
The Wildcats, who trailed by 11 points (34-23) at the 18:55 mark of the second half, outscored the Great Danes 15-2 from the 18:38 mark until 12:46 when a layup by Matthias gave UNH its first lead of the contest, 38-36. The game remained close until the 5:00 mark of the second half when sophomore guard Ebony Woods (Philadelphia, Pa.) hit a three-pointer to make it 48-43. That trey started another UNH run, this time by a 12-3 margin in favor of UNH to give the home team an 11-point lead (57-46) at 1:35 after a pair of made free throws by sophomore guard Emily Hardy (Westbrook, Conn.). UNH held the lead the rest of the way from the free throw line. Hardy was huge down the stretch from the charity stripe, going 6-6 in the final 1:35 of the contest to help ice the win for UNH.
In a game that was a tale of two halves, Albany jumped out of the gates quickly in the first stanza, outscoring UNH by a 19-11 margin at 9:27. The Great Danes led by as many as 10 points in the first half (25-15) with 5:17 to go before the intermission and led at the half by seven (30-23).
Albany was led in scoring by Danielle Hutcheson with 13 points, while Jen Schumacher added 10 points. Maree Jones led all rebounders in the game with 13 boards.
In addition to the 18 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks and two steals by Matthias, Woods finished with 11 points for the Wildcats. Matthias made the most of her field goal attempts, connecting on 8-10 shots.
The key to the second half surge for UNH was improved shooting and fewer turnovers, as the Wildcats shot 48.0 from the floor in the second half as compared to just 35.0 percent in the first. UNH committed 12 turnovers in the first half, but only six in the second.
The Wildcats, who have won four of their last five games, will hit the road on Jan. 10 to take on Stony Brook. Game time is 2 p.m.