The UNH’s historic winning streak came to an end after a nine-point loss on Monday night to the University at Albany. Junior Kat Fogarty led the Wildcats with 12 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double in the loss.
After trailing by four heading into the final quarter, the Wildcats couldn’t rally to force another comeback win. This was the programs’ longest win streak (13) and the team’s first loss in conference play.
“It was disappointing, obviously,” head coach Maureen Magarity said. “[The team] looked angry which was good, they didn’t look sad, they didn’t feel sorry for themselves, they looked angry.”
UNH now drops to a 19-4 overall record and falls to 9-1 in America East play. The ‘Cats still remain the top seed and they hold a two game lead over the Great Danes, who stand at 8-3.
“We’ve had awful starts for some reason, we’re a tremendous second half team, but we seem to always give these teams cushions to start the game and we have to fight our way back,” Magarity said.
The Wildcats shot 39 percent from the field and 25 percent from the three-point line. UNH, normally a great free throw shooting team, continued to shoot a good percentage from the charity stripe by shooting 72 percent.
Juniors Carlie Pogue and Olivia Healy tallied 18 and 11 points respectively. UNH failed to give their starters any help as the bench players only combined to score seven points.
The ‘Cats also had no fast break points and got dominated in the paint as Albany outscored the Wildcats 30-16 down low. Albany also scored 33 points off of UNH’s 28 turnovers.
“Very uncharacteristic,” Magarity said after the game, “We can’t turn the ball over and we have to rebound on the road, and we didn’t do either of those two.”
For the first time since Dec. 11, the Wildcats now have to play a game with a chance of losing back-to-back games, something they have not done all season.
The next opponent will be the University of Vermont, a team UNH beat by eight on the road in Burlington. The ‘Cats don’t want to drop two games in a row, especially with Albany and other conference foes creeping up the America East standings.
“It’s really nice that we’re back at home,” Magarity said, “To have a championship season, you have to win at home.”
UNH has been a different team offensively from a year ago. Last season the ‘Cats had one of the programs best in Elizabeth Belanger who was the team’s leader in points, assists and rebounds but the team was one dimensional.
Now this team has several scoring options in Fogarty, Pogue, Brittni Lai and Healy. The different angles that UNH can attack from has been difficult for opposing coaches to defend which has been proven in the team’s success this season.
“Going into games if I’m the opponents coach, its tough,” said Magarity on her team’s multi-level offense. “It’s given us the freedom to run different things and in the flow of the game to go to different players.”
The Wildcats will next take on the Vermont Catamounts, Thursday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. at Lundholm Gymnasium.