A splendid start turned sour for the Binghamton University women’s basketball team as turnovers spoiled the Bearcats’ quest for a season-opening win against St. Bonaventure University on Saturday afternoon.
The Bonnies (1-0) scored 22 points off 16 Binghamton (0-1) turnovers, while the Bearcats managed just two points on seven forced turnovers in the 61-34 defeat.
“I think we had 11 turnovers in the first half and then only five in the second half, so obviously in the second half we took better care of the basketball,” Binghamton head coach Nicole Scholl said. “But against a team like St. Bonaventure, you can’t turn the ball over 16 times and hope to win. It’s something we need to work on.”
The Bearcats jumped out to a 12-5 lead in the opening half as they rallied behind the rebounding ability of senior forward Kara Elofson, who grabbed four boards during the opening seven-and-a-half minutes.
The lead was short-lived, however, as the Bonnies responded in high-powered fashion. Led by freshman forward Katie Healy’s six points, St. Bonaventure went on a 17-0 run to command a 22-12 advantage with 5:39 left in the first half. The Bonnies would eventually finish the half on a 7-0 run, fueled by Binghamton turnovers, to lead 33-18 at the break.
At the start of the second half, St. Bonaventure seemed ready to pick up right where it left off, scoring 10 of the half’s first 13 points. Things only got worse for the Bearcats as the Bonnies side went on another run, scoring nine unanswered points to bring the lead to 30 points with 7:53 remaining in the game.
With limited time and not enough scoring threats, the Bearcats found the deficit insurmountable.
Junior guard Ashley Zahn led the Bonnies with 14 points, and Healy contributed with 12 points and seven boards.
The Bearcats did have a bright spot in the debut performance of freshman forward Morgan Murphy. Murphy led Binghamton with 12 points and seven boards off the bench and was named America East Rookie of the Week on Monday.
“[Murphy was] strong on the inside as she was able to make some tough shots, and was able to rebound the ball well,” Scholl said. “An overall good start for her.”
But the Bearcats as a whole were held to just 12-of-47 shooting from the floor and 2-of-15 from long range.
“We just couldn’t score,” Scholl said.
Further compounding Binghamton’s lack of offense was an inability to get to the line early in the game. The Bearcats did not attempt a single free throw in the first half. Things did get better in the second as Binghamton attempted 13 free throws and connected on eight of them.
Roles were reversed for the Bonnies, who went a perfect 8-of-8 from the charity stripe on the night but did not register an attempt in the second half.
Scholl was quick to stress the quality of the Bonnies, who went 31-4 (14-0 Atlantic-10) last season and reached the Sweet 16 in last year’s NCAA tournament.
“St. Bonaventure is a very good team; they are a very experienced team and they run their system very well,” Scholl said.
The Bearcats are scheduled to host Cornell University Wednesday night in their home opener. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Events Center.