Basketball Teams Debut as Winter Sports Heat Up

UAlbany women's basketball player Helene Haegerstrand on court against Vermont.
The women's basketball team, including returning fifth year player Helene Haegerstrand, will look to get back to the NCAA Tournament in 2023-24. (Photo by Jay Bendlin/UAlbany Athletics)

By Michael Parker

ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 14, 2023) — The men's and women's basketball teams have a sparkling, newly refurbished facility to call home for the 2023-24 season, with a new name to go with it.

The Great Danes will play their home contests in the Broadview Center, formerly known as SEFCU Arena. The name change comes as SEFCU underwent its own rebranding to Broadview Federal Credit Union following a merger with Cap Com FCU. But it also comes on the heels of $12 million in renovations and upgrades, including a new court orientation, club seating, locker rooms, hospitality areas and accommodations for guests with disabilities.

Women’s Basketball Looking for NCAA Return

The women’s basketball team, which fell just short of repeating as America East champions in 2022-23, will look to get back to the NCAA Tournament in 2024 with returning fifth-year player Helene Haegerstrand. The three-time America East All-Conference honoree who is from Stockholm, Sweden, decided to return to UAlbany to pursue her MBA after graduating in May.

The Great Danes, who opened their season with a road victory at Merrimack, will play their first game at Broadview Center against crosstown rival Siena on Dec. 2. The game, set to tip off at 2 p.m., will also air on ESPN+. UAlbany won in Loudonville last year and currently holds a 10-2 advantage in the series. The Great Danes’ America East campaign begins Jan. 4 at home against Bryant.

Men’s Basketball Honors Coach Doc Sauers

The men’s basketball team earned a victory over Columbia after falling to UMass to begin the 2023-24 campaign. Next up is Big East squad Seton Hall at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. on Wednesday, with a tip-off set for 6:30 p.m.

After that, the Great Danes are honoring longtime coach Richard “Doc” Sauers as they take part in the Doc Sauers Classic. The two-game series includes an away match against Quinnipiac on Nov. 19, followed by a home contest against Army on Nov. 21 at Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls. It’s the first time the Great Danes will host a game at the Glens Falls venue in the event, sponsored by the Albany Med Health System. Sauers, who won 702 games as coach of the Great Danes from 1955-1997, led the team from its roots to NCAA Tournament success and on a path toward becoming a Division I program.

"I'm extremely grateful for my name to be on this tournament," said Sauers, UAlbany's all-time winningest basketball coach. "I've been blessed to be a part of many UAlbany basketball games and for this tournament to be named after me is so humbling. I'd like to thank (Athletic Director) Mark Benson and Coach Dwayne Killings for this honor." 

After the series, the men will head back to Albany for a date with crosstown rival Siena on Nov. 26 at MVP Arena in Albany. The Great Danes will make their Broadview Center debut on Nov. 29 against Boston University. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. for the contest, which will air on ESPN+.

The America East portion of the season begins Jan. 6 against NJIT in New Jersey, followed by a home contest against Binghamton on Jan. 13.

Football Looks for Share of Title

While the sounds of basketballs may usher in the start of the winter sports season at UAlbany, the football team still has its sights set on success. The Great Danes will take on Monmouth at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium at 1 p.m. Saturday with at least a share of the Colonial Athletic Conference (CAA) title on the line. UAlbany is 6-1 in the CAA, currently in a four-way tie with Villanova, Delaware and Richmond in the conference. A victory over the Hawks would secure a slice of the regular-season title.

After the game, the team will await word on a spot in the NCAA Tournament, which begins in late November and culminates in the 2024 NCAA Division I Football Championship Game on Jan. 6.

Indoor Track Season Preparations Begin

The women’s and men’s indoor track teams will also compete this winter, with invitationals starting in December before the IC4A Indoor Championships in early March. The teams recently completed their fall cross country campaigns, with the women finishing in 24th at the Regional Championships. The men’s and women’s teams each finished in 2nd at the America East Indoor Championships in 2023.