America East/MAAC Conference Tournament Info
It’s a jam packed weekend of local sports in the Capital Region. I’ve spent a lot of time chronicling the high school basketball playoffs over the past three weeks, and today it’s time to tackle the local college scene.
The America East and MAAC Conference tournaments are taking place, and both UAlbany and Siena hope this weekend can lead them dancing into the NCAA tournament.
UAlbany has home court advantage in the America East. The tournament is being held at SEFCU Arena, while Siena plays its tournament in Springfield, Mass.
America East - Women
The Great Dane women enter the tournament as the No. 1 seed after completing a 25-4 regular season. The Danes also went 15-1 in league play -- only losing to Stony Brook on March 1. UAlbany had won 38 consecutive league games prior to that loss.
The Purple and Gold are led by a trio of players who average double figures, including Shereesha Richards (20.2).
UAlbany averages 72 points a game while holding opponents to just 55. The Danes also own a big advantage on the glass, outrebounding opponents by more than 10 boards a contest.
The Danes open up the tournament on Friday at 6 p.m. against Binghamton.
The UAlbany men open play on Saturday at 2:30 against UMBC. Albany went 15-14 in the regular season and posted a 9-7 record in A-East play to earn the No. 4 seed.
The Danes have won three of their last four games. They split the regular season series with the Retrievers, losing 71-69 on Feb. 12 and winning a double-overtime contest on Jan. 8.
Four Danes average double figures in scoring and UAlbany will continue to need that production if they want to win on their home floor. Peter Hooley leads the way at 14.8 while Sam Rowley adds 11.3.
Like the women, the Albany men outrebound opponents, and that could be a big factor this weekend. Limiting teams to one shot and avoiding second-chance opportunities will also help keep the Danes out of foul trouble.
The Siena women saved its best for last on Thursday, upsetting the No. 7 seeded Manhattan Jaspers. The Saints went just 3-17 in league play this season, but the tenth-seeded group is still alive heading into a matchup with Marist on Friday at 7 p.m.
The Saints got 16 points from Ida Krogh and Tehresa Coles in the win against the Jaspers. They also got 15 from Kelsey Booth and 14 from Kanika Cummings.
The Saints lost both games to Marist in the regular season, but after a big win on Thursday, maybe the slipper fits for this Cinderella.
The Saints went 11-9 in MAAC play in the first year with Jimmy Patsos at the helm. Siena enters its first game having won four straight. Siena will play Canisius at 2:30 on Saturday.
If Siena wants to make a run at the title, they are going to need offensive production from at least three players. Rob Poole averages 14.7 a game and Brett Bisping averages 10.3, but who will be that third option to carry Siena to the next round?
Siena is a very capable defensive team, and they limit opponents to just 33 percent from three. If they want to make noise in the tournament, they’ll need to shoot it well from the outside themselves, stay out of foul trouble, and get to the line. The Saints shot better than 70 percent from the free-throw line this season and that’s always a big key come March.