ALBANY, N.Y. — It was not the glorious way a senior would like to end her season. Sigi Koizar had trouble getting the Black Bears’ offense in gear. At times she tried to force the ball inside, accounting for five turnovers.

Koizar ended up with a team-leading 14 points, although eight of them came in the fourth quarter of the 66-50 loss to Albany in the America East championship game Friday.

“Sigi’s a special kid,” Maine associate head coach Amy Vachon said. “I know she’s disappointed in the way she played. It wasn’t her best performance.

“But I told her in the locker room that she is not defined by one game. What she has done for our university, our program, our community, is just incredible. I mean, the kid has a 3.97 GPA in bio/pre-med/chemistry. I mean, who does that? She’s a unique kid.

“She grew up a lot this year. She’s a quiet kid and she was put in the spotlight of having to be a leader.”

Koizar, asked about her time at Maine, resumed her quiet nature.

“It was a good experience,” Koizar said before talking about Maine’s young players and their promising future.

Koizar’s GPA won her another honor as the conference’s top academic performer. She accepted the award after the game.

THE ALL-TOURNAMENT team included two Maine players – Koizar and freshman guard Blanca Millan. Imani Tate and freshman guard Mackenzie Trpcic represented Albany. Deanna Mayza of Hartford was the fifth player.

THE SELECTION SHOW for the NCAA tournament will be at 7 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Some projections had the America East winner headed to Durham, North Carolina, to play Duke (27-5). The Blue Devils, coached by former Maine coach Joanne P. McCallie, reached the Atlantic Coast Conference title game, losing to Notre Dame. Duke is 16-0 at home.

WHILE RICHARD BARRON has been on a medical leave for the last two months, he has been in contact with Vachon. But that’s all Vachon will say.

“Coach Barron is a good friend and I talk to all my friends,” Vachon said earlier this week.

Do they talk about basketball? Vachon just smiled.

After the game, Barron sent out a tweet: “Heads up Black Bears. Bright future ahead.”

WHILE THE crowd was overwhelmingly on the Great Danes’ side, the Black Bears had supporters, including 26 who came from Bangor on a fan bus, plus the Maine band and dance team.

The arena was less than one-fourth filled (1,231 fans) and there were technical problems, with no working scoreboard and the game clock breaking down near the end of the game.

THIS WAS MAINE’S 18th appearance in the conference final, the most of any team. Vermont and Boston University are tied for second with 11.

The Black Bears’ seven titles are also the most. Vermont has won six, as has Albany.

THE ALBANY MEN’S basketball team will be in action Saturday, also playing for the America East championship, at top-seeded Vermont in the 11 a.m. title game.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

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Twitter: KevinThomasPPH