UAlbany Women’s Basketball Team Hosts AE Title Game
As Julie Forster looks around SEFCU Arena, she knows something is missing.
There are few banners for the University at Albany men's basketball team, to commemorate their America East championships and trips to the NCAA tournament.
There's nothing for the women's program -- yet.
Forster and the rest of the Great Danes hope that is about to change. UAlbany (22-9) hosts UMBC (17-14), on Saturday evening, in the America East championship game, at 8 p.m. The game can be seen on ESPN3.com.
“It’s something that you work for all season, to get to this point," said Forster, who was a second team all-conference selection, in addition to being named to the all-defensive squad.
The Retreivers are the No. 5 seed, but they were picked first in the preseason poll, so the Great Danes know they can't take anything lightly.
“They know UMBC is a great team," said coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson.
Forster has seen the team make huge strides over the past few seasons, but they still want a little something to call their own.
“It’s definitely something that gets to you," she said. "You want to come to the gym and have something, or leave at least, with something that you put up. That’s something that we don’t have and it’s something that we really want.”
The junior averaged 8.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game this season.
“She’s the most athletic, durable, fit, tough, quiet human being," Abrahamson-Henderson said. "She’s relentless on the boards."
The Great Danes have never reached an America East championship game in program history, so the team is excited to get this opportunity.
“We have to play the way we’ve been playing all season to win. Nothing is guaranteed.”
The team is led by junior Ebone Henry, who was a first team all-league selection for the second straight
season and was named the America East Conference's Defensive Player of the Year.
Henry stressed the team is still an underdog, even though they are the lowest seeded team remaining.
“Because it’s our first time being in this position, people still don’t expect us to win," she said.
In just two seasons, Coach Abe has turned the program around, winning 38 games and putting the team in a position to win a championship and advance to the NCAA tournament, for the first time in their Division I history.
“They’ve come a long way, haven’t they?" Abrahamson-Henderson said.