Hahn ends her UAlbany women’s basketball career at UMass

Ellen Hahne has played her last game for the University at Albany women’s basketball team.

A fifth-year guard from Sweden, Hahne was the only one of last year’s players to be healthy at the start of the season and led the Great Danes through a non-conference schedule that saw them play just two games at their temporary home at Hudson Valley Community College.

The Wake Forest transfer averaged 11.2 points and 5.6 rebounds in basketball last season, helping UAlbany clinch a share of the America East regular-season title, its first in seven years.

But the Great Danes (22-12) couldn’t repeat last year’s postseason success, falling by two points to Vermont in the conference championship game and losing at UMass 73-48 on Friday night in the first round of the WNIT.

“We’ve been through a lot of adversity (with injuries and not having a home gym), but we’ve never once complained or thought about quitting or anything like that,” Hahn said after the UMass game. “I’m very proud of everything we’ve done with my team, and everything everyone’s done individually, to stay prepared and stay together and stay positive.”

Hahne committed to transfer to UAlbany prior to the 2020-21 season during the COVID-19 pandemic. He never went to school.

“I just had another Swede (now senior forward Helene Haegerstrand) here I talked to a lot, and then I talked to coach (Colleen) Mullen twice on the phone and I said, OK, I’ll come here.” Hahn said.

“He completely changed our culture,” Mullen said of Hahne. “I recruited all these seniors and juniors in my first recruiting class, they all decided to commit to a losing program. … It speaks to their commitment to buy into their roles, to be unselfish, to sacrifice their personal reputation for the team.”

Fifth-year forward Lucia Decortes has also exhausted her eligibility. Seniors Haegerstrand, Grace Heeps, Taniya Hanner and Fatima Lee have one more year left, but have not indicated their intentions for next season.

Hahne and the rest of UAlbany’s scorers struggled in the championship game at Vermont and against UMass.

Junior guard Kayla Cooper had a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds, nine on the offensive glass, and Haegerstrand added nine points. Redshirt junior Hahne and Morgan Haney, UAlbany’s third and fourth most prolific shooters, combined for five points. The Danes shot 23 percent (69-16) from the field.

“We had open shots that we didn’t hit. Much like our championship game, we went cold offensively, but we got some great looks,” Mullen said. “This team just didn’t quit and they fought until the end.”

The teams traded blows early, but senior guard Sydney Taylor drained a 3 to start a 9-0 UMass run that gave the Minutewomen the lead for good. UMass pushed the lead to 30 points late in the fourth quarter.

Taylor had 19 points, and senior forward Angelique Ngalakulondi had 17 points and 15 rebounds for the Minutewomen.

Atlantic 10-year player Sam Breen scored 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting.

Denmark trailed 36-26 at halftime after allowing just 13 points in the second quarter.

“It really shows when we’re all on the same page, and I think when we got together and started talking more, it was really effective,” Cooper said of the defensive effort.

She opened the second half with two free throws, cutting the lead to eight, but Taylor fired the Minutewomen again with a fast break layup, sparking a 10-0 run, and UAlbany never got back within single digits.

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