River Hawks lose heartbreaker to Albany, 56-53

Marcos Aguilar

Connector Editor

Despite co-captain Brie Rudolph tying a career high 24 points, the UMass Lowell women’s basketball team dropped their eighth straight loss against the Albany Great Danes at the Tsongas Center this past Wednesday night. Rudolph led all scorers and added seven rebounds.

“No moral victories. We lost by three at home to a team I thought we were favorably matched, “said head coach Tom Garrick. “We just didn’t come out and play hard in the first twenty minutes, but our kids showed some character in the second half and I’m really proud of them.”

Coming off a tough loss against Stony Brook, Garrick and his squad looked to bounce back on UMass Lowell’s first #SpreadRespect night of the winter. The movement reiterates the America East conference’s constant stance on working with all of its members to ensure quality and respect for all without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.

With sections of the Lowell faithful proudly waving their LGBTQ flags at tip-off, the River Hawks would find themselves in a hole early. Led by forward Heather Forster, Albany would come out dominating the first half shooting 67 percent from the field and not missing a shot until the mid-way point in the first quarter.

Not much would change for the River Hawks in the second quarter, as they struggled to contain the visitors offensively. The Great Danes finished the game outscoring the hosts 40-22 in the paint. They would grab their biggest lead of the game (23), but the River Hawks still had a whole other half to change the outcome of this game.

“If I could do anything over,” said Garrick. “It’d be to have a new first twenty minutes.”

Trailing at half time (36-15), Garrick understood that the team needed to raise their intensity. The River Hawks came out flying in the 3rd quarter with an initial 9-0 run orchestrated by Junior guard Ren’Cia Rolling running the point.  The hosts would head into the final quarter of the game outscoring the Albany Great Danes 20-7 in the third.

Down by seven, the River Hawks looked to continue their momentum by going to a full court press on the Great Danes. This led to the visitors having a shorter shot clock to work with; enabling the River Hawks to get key defensive stops and turnovers.

Sophomore guard Linda Svenne heated up in the fourth scoring two vital shots beyond the arc to pull the River Hawks within six. On the defensive end, Junior forward Bri Stiers was exceptional taking a hard charge, her second of the game. The other coming earlier in the second quarter when the River Hawks were down by double digits.

Rudolph obliterated a Great Danes’ guard on an iso play to pull the River Hawks within one. Moments later Rolling had the Tsongas explode; as her three from corner, with less than three minutes to play, gave the River Hawks their first lead of the night. Unfortunately for the hosts, Albany would fire right back with their own three. Coming off a timeout, Svenne would be unable to hit the game tying three. The Great Danes now lead the River Hawks 14-8 in their all-time series.

“We had a chance to tie it at the end,” said Garrick. “We got a good play off with our best shooter, so that’s all we can ask.”

Next up for the River Hawks will be a visit from UMBC.

“They are going to come in here hungry, just like we are,” said Garrick. “We haven’t won in a long time, so hopefully we’re going to come out guns blazing and try to get that season sweep.”

The River Hawks will return to action this Saturday as they host UMBC to finish off their three game home stand. Tip off at the Tsongas Center is scheduled for 1pm.

 

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