DURHAM, N.H. – Sophomore guard Elizabeth Belanger (Acton, Mass.) matched her career-high of 20 points but the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team's four-game winning streak was snapped by the University at Albany, 60-47, at Lundholm Gymnasium on Wednesday evening.
UAlbany wins its 16th consecutive game and improves to 25-3 overall and 15-0 in America East. New Hampshire falls to 18-10, 12-3. The Great Danes clinch the America East regular season title with the win.
Belanger was 7 of 13 from the field, including a career-high four 3-pointers on seven attempts for the Wildcats. The sophomore guard also corralled a team-high eight rebounds. Senior guard Kelsey Hogan (Nashua, N.H.) also eclipsed double figures in scoring with 10 points with a 5-for-5 effort from the free throw line. Sophomore forward Corinne Coia (North Smithfield, R.I.) registered nine points and seven rebounds. Freshman guard Kristen Anderson (Greene, Maine) orchestrated the offense with six assists.
Sophomore forward Shereesha Richards paced the Great Danes in scoring with 16 points. Sophomore guard Erin Coughlin chipped in 10 points. Senior guard Tammy Phillip was one point shy of a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds. Junior center Megan Craig collected a game-high 10 rebounds.
New Hampshire was 17 of 51 from the floor to post a .333 field goal percentage. UAlbany shot 19 of 53 from the field to log a .358 clip. The Great Danes outrebounded the Wildcats, 42-29.
UNH was within a basket at halftime (26-24) and midway through the second half (39-37). However, the Great Danes outscored the Wildcats 21-10 in the last 9:22 to play to pull away and preserve its winning streak.
UAlbany started the game with a 7-0 run, forcing an early timeout by UNH. The Wildcats retaliated with four straight points as Belanger drained her first of four 3-balls to trail 7-4 with 15:55 remaining in the first half.
The Great Danes stretched their lead to 11 points powered by a 14-6 run on contributions from Craig, Phillip Richards and Imani Tate. However, the Wildcats responded with a 12-2 run on the strength of six points from Belanger to trail 23-22 with 2:52 remaining in the opening frame. Albany entered halftime with a 26-24 edge.
The Great Danes started the second half with five-straight points to hold a 31-26 advantage. New Hampshire came back with back-to-back layups from Belanger and Coia to pull within field goal at 31-28 with 17:07 to go in the second stanza.
UAlbany pulled away again, compiling a 8-3 run and owned a 39-31 lead with 12:45 on the clock. In spite of that, the Wildcats strung together six consecutive points, highlighted by another trey from Belanger. New Hampshire cut the lead down to a one possession game at 39-37 with 9:22 remaining in regulation
The Great Danes began to draw the foul count up on the Wildcats in the latter half of the second frame and began to shoot from the foul line. UAlbany converted 12 of 14 attempts from the charity stripe to preserve its lead. Despite 11 points from Belanger and eight points from Hogan in the second stanza for UNH, Albany maintained its lead and recorded the 60-47 win.
The Wildcats conclude their regular season at Lundholm Gymnasium on Saturday, March 1 (1 p.m.) hosting the University of Maine for Senior Day. In addition, New Hampshire will conduct its first-ever 'Silent Night' game. The game will be televised on Fox College Sports Atlantic. For tickets, visit UNHWildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000.