Albany, NY- Albany's Ebone Harris and Julie Forster each registered double-doubles to lead the Great Danes to a 64-54 season opening victory over Brown women's basketball team (0-1) tonight at the SEFCU Arena. Junior captain Aileen Daniels (Waldwick,, NJ) led the Bears' offense with 15 points, while rookie Sophie Beutel (Toronto, ON) cleaned up the boards bringing down a team-high 13 rebounds.
Despite the Bears' youthful roster that features seven newcomers and has no seniors, the squad got off to a great start and showed no signs of first-game jitters. Shooting 40 percent from the field in the first half, Brown jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first three minutes of play, and a three pointer by freshman Lauren Clarke (Colts Neck, NJ) put the score at 10-5 with 13:47 on the clock. Albany chipped away at its deficit and gained its first lead of the night with 9:46 remaining in the half, but the Bears hung in as the lead changed hands 11 times and was tied twice.
Daniels and junior Hannah Passafuime (Soquel, CA) added eight points apiece to lead the offense in the first half, and Albany's Julie Forster and Ebone Harris combined for 22 of the team's 29 first-half points to give the Great Danes a 29-27 halftime lead.
While the Bears struggled offensively in the second half shooting just 22 percent from the field, the squad was able to stay within striking distance with the help of Beutel's 10 rebounds and Passafuime's 10 points in the second half. Albany gained as much as a 10-point advantage at the 11:36 mark, but a jumper and a free throw by Beutel cut the deficit to six. Then, Passafuime knocked down two shots to cut the Bears' deficit to two, 46-44, with 6:58 remaining in the game.
However, Albany answered with an 8-2 run to take a nine-point lead with just under five minutes remaining. Brown was able to come within five, but forced to foul in the minutes remaining the Great Danes finished with a 10-point advantage, 64-54.
Leading the Bears was Daniels with 15 points and seven rebounds, followed by Passafuime with 14 points. Beutel led the rebounding effort with 13 boards, as Clarke followed with seven. Albany's Henry led with 23 points and 15 rebounds, and Julie Forster netted 13 points and grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds.
The Bears are back in action on Wednesday when it travels to Central Connecticut State for a 7:00 game against the Blue Devils.