Women's Hoop Drops Conference Opener to Albany, 62-56, in Overtime

ALBANY, N.Y. – Junior forward Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.), earned her second straight double-double, notching 19 points and a career-best 15 rebounds, but it wasn't enough, as the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team dropped a 62-56 decision in overtime to the University at Albany Tuesday night at SEFCU Arena.

The loss drops New Hampshire to 3-10 overall and 0-1 in America East play, while Albany snaps a three-game skid, improving to 8-6 overall and 1-0 in conference action.

Beliveau earned America East Player of the Game honors for the Wildcats, tallying her 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field and 7-of-9 shooting from the charity stripe. It is her fourth double-double of the season and the eighth of her career.

Ebone Henry took home player of the game honors for Albany, scoring a game-high 26 points and pulling down nine rebounds.

Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) was UNH's only other double digit scorer, dropping in 12 points and pulling down six rebounds. It is the fourth straight game she has scored in double-figures.
Jill McDonald

Albany led off the contest with seven unanswered points, as New Hampshire missed its only two shot opportunities during the stretch, allowing the home team to seize the early 7-0 edge on a Felicia Johnson jumper at 18:11.

For the next two minutes neither team could find the bottom of the basket, until McDonald buried a pair of free throws to cut the deficit down to five. Cassandra Callaway added a jumper just over a minute later, bumping Albany's lead back up to seven, until UNH caught fire scoring on two straight trips up the floor.

McDonald netted UNH's first field-goal of the contest, burying a jumper off a feed from Kelsey Hogan (Nashua, N.H.) at 14:44 and then on the ensuing possession, Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.) sank a layup, setting the score at 9-6 with 13:51 remaining in the first stanza.

Julie Forster would bank in a layup to extinguish UNH's brief scoring streak, but Wells fired back next trip up the floor, sinking a trifecta that capped off a 9-4 run by the 'Cats, cutting the deficit down to just two points.

Henry would get the Great Danes back on track, sinking a jumper that set off a string of seven unanswered by the home team, pushing their lead to its largest margin of the contest, with an 18-9 advantage with just over nine minutes remaining in the frame.

New Hampshire would hold Albany off the board for more than five minutes, as Beliveau knocked down both free-throws on two separate trips to the charity stripe and McDonald added a layup at 5:04, cutting the Great Dane lead down to three.

The two squads would exchange baskets the rest of the way, but Albany was still able to outscore UNH down the stretch 7-4 on its way to a 25-19 edge at the break.  

The Wildcats would pick up the pace at the start of the second frame, as McDonald ignited UNH with a jumper that set off a 21-9 run that evened the score at 36-36 with 12:15 remaining.

Beliveau provided the brunt of the offensive on the stretch, scoring her first basket of the run on a tough layup with contact with just under 16 minutes to play. Less than a minute later she was at it again, nailing a baseline jumper and then stole the ball following the change of possession, taking it the length of the floor for a layup from the right side, laying it off the glass.

Following a pair of Sarah-Marie Frankenberger (Gross Gerau, Germany) free-throws, Hogan would deliver the game-tying basket, sinking a 3-pointer from the left wing with 12:15 on the clock.

About a minute later, Beliveau put the 'Cats on top, grabbing an offensive rebound off a miss at the right block and powered her way to the basket, banking the ball off the glass to give UNH a 38-37 lead at 11:19. New Hampshire would increase its lead at the tail end of the run, as Beliveau set up Wells for a 3-pointer at the top of the key to push ahead by three with 9:27 remaining in regulation.

The two teams would exchange baskets the rest of the way, until a made free-throw by Cari Reed (Oswego, N.Y.) gave UNH a two-point lead with 43 seconds remaining. After the change of possession, Henry would deliver the clutch game-tying basket with 33 seconds remaining as she banked in a layup to send the contest into overtime with the score 52-52 at the end of regulation.

Beliveau notched the first field-goal in extended play, snagging a rebound off a miss and banking it off the glass from the left block to push UNH ahead, 54-52, less than a minute into overtime. Following a change of possession, Henry responded netting a 3-pointer on a second chance opportunity to take back the lead with a one-point advantage with 3:23 remaining.

It was Beliveau that once again gave UNH an offensive lift, draining a pair of free-throws next trip up the floor, reclaiming the lead with a 56-55 edge with just over three minutes to play. Adrienne Jones would take back the lead on a second chance layup following the change of possession, as Albany closed out the contest with a 7-0 run, outscoring UNH 10-4 in overtime.  

The Wildcats return to action on Thursday, Jan. 6 (7 p.m.) when they return home to take on Boston University at Lundholm Gymnasium.
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