ALBANY, N.Y. – Kaylee Kilpatrick (Saint John, New Brunswick) came off the bench to score a team-leading 17 points, but the fifth-seeded University of New Hampshire women's basketball team had its season end with a 71-57 loss to top-seeded University at Albany in Sunday afternoon's America East Championship semifinals at Albany's SEFCU Arena.
Fifth-seeded UNH, which advanced out of the quarterfinals with a 49-46 quarterfinal victory against Stony Brook University, ends the season at 12-18. Top-seeded Albany, which completed the conference season unbeaten at 16-0, extended its winning streak to 18 games to improve to 26-3 and advance to the March 16 title game against University of Hartford.
Kilpatrick, who made 7 of 12 field goal attempts and all three free throws, also tallied four rebounds, one assist, one steal and three blocks. Morgan Frame (Waterville, Maine) recorded 11 points, seven rebounds, two steals and a career-high six assists. Cari Reed (Oswego, N.Y.) finished with 14 points and four rebounds. Frame and Reed, both seniors, were named to the All-Conference Second Team prior to the start of the tournament.
Lindsey Lowrie (18 points) led four Great Danes in double figures. She was followed by Ebone Henry (13), Shereesha Richards (11) and Julie Forster, who recorded a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Albany led 32-26 at halftime and extended the advantage to double digits, 41-31, when Lowrie hit a 3-pointer at 14:25 of the second half. The margin fluctuated between 8 and 12 points until Margarita Rosario hit 1 of 2 foul shots to give UA a 52-39 lead at 8:40.
UNH responded with a 10-0 run the next three minutes to trim the deficit to three points, 52-49. Kilpatrick ignited the spurt with a three-point play at 7:58 and then Frame hit two free throws at 7:22 to make it 52-44. Kilpatrick battle for an offensive rebound and the ball went through the rim to lift the 'Cats within six points at 6:16.
Richards missed two foul shots on the Great Danes' next possession, then Kesley Hogan (Nashua, N.H.) fought around a screen and drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key to advance the score to 52-49 and force UA to call time out at 5:40. The Great Danes responded with a layup by Henry out of the break and Forster hit two foul shots at 3:18 to extend the lead to 56-49.
Hogan found Kilpatrick for a foul-line jumper at 2:57, but Lowrie answered with a layup at the other end of the court to reestablish a seven-point cushion of 58-51. Sarah Royals sank a pair of free throws for a 60-51 lead at 1:48, but Kilpatrick made two foul shots to lift the Wildcats within seven points with 1:37 remaining.
Lowrie missed a 3-pointer on UA's next possession, but it was extended when Henry pulled down the offensive rebounds with 1:11 to play. Royals was sent to the free throw line two seconds later and made both attempts for a 62-53 lead. Hogan's pull-up jumper from the right elbow once again pulled UNH within seven points.
Frame was whistled for an intentional foul -- her fifth personal foul of the game -- on Richards' layup with 53 seconds on the clock. She made 1 of 2 free throws, then Henry went to the line and made both to extend the advantage to 67-55. The 'Cats inched within 57-57 on a pair of Elizabeth Belanger (Acton, Mass.) foul shots with 44 seconds remaining. Albany made 4 of 6 from the line the rest of the way to secure the win.
Albany made 12 of 15 free throws the last two minutes of regulation and 31 of 41 overall in comparison to UNH's 10-for-11 in the game. The Great Danes recorded a slight rebounding advantage (35-31) and committed fewer turnovers (8-20).
UNH struck first in the opening minute of play when Frame found Reed alone on the right blocks. The Great Danes responded with seven consecutive points before the Wildcats inched within 8-6 on layups by Reed and Frame, who then found Kilpatrick for a foul-line jumper at 12:23 that lifted the 'Cats within 11-8.
The Great Danes scored five consecutive points in less than a minute to reestablish a five-point lead of 13-8 at 11:35 and Hogan went to the bench with her second personal foul at 10:44 -- Ariel Gaston (Toldedo, Ohio) had already gone to the bench with two fouls at 14:42. New Hampshire -- and Megan Craig hit one free throw a second later to give UA a 14-8 advantage.
Reed's 3-pointer from the top of the key lifted the 'Cats within 14-11 and then she found Frame on the right blocks for a layup to reduce the differential to one point, 14-13, at 9:47, Following a layup by Forster, Frame drilled a jumper from the left elbow and Kilpatrick hit a shot from just inside the top of the key to put UNH back in front, 17-16, at 8:30.
Albany immediately regained the lead, 18-17, on a pair of Royals' foul shots but the exchange of leads continued when Kilpatrick connected on a left-baseline jumper to put the 'Cats ahead 19-18 at 8:00. Kilpatriick's hot shooting touch continued on the next possession with a 10-footer on the right wing that extended the advantage to 21-18.
Keyana Williams responded with a basket but Reed's 3-pointer capped a 7-2 spurt that gave UNH a 24-20 lead at 5:57. Neither team scored for two minutes until Lowrie made a 3-pointer to trim UA's deficit to one point, 24-23, at 3:36. Forster forged a tie by making 1 of 2 from the foul line at 2:47 and the Great Danes regained the lead on Craig's layup. She then hit a pair of free throws and Forster scored in the paint to extend the advantage to 30-24 with 50 seconds left in the first half. Reed ended the 10-0 run with a layup, which was answered by Rosario's field goal. Gaston's 3-pointer from the left corner caromed off the rim at the buzzer to give the home team a 32-26 halftime lead.
The end of the 2012-13 season marked the end of four Wildcat careers -- Frame, Reed, Jilliane Friel (Durham, N.H.) and Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.). Reed is ranked third on the program's career 3-point leader board with 178; she is also No. 16 in blocks (41) and No. 17 in points (953).