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Bearcats winless after loss to Canisius

The Binghamton University women’s basketball team failed once again to secure its first victory of the season on Tuesday in a 61-48 loss to Canisius College at the Events Center. The Bearcats (0-6) are off to their worst start since the team made the leap to the NCAA Division I level in 2001.

Jonathan Heisler/Photo Editor Junior guard Vaneeshia Paulk’s career-high and game-high 17 points weren’t enough as the Bearcats fell short in a 61-48 loss to Canisius.

Binghamton head coach Nicole Scholl said that while the team has played “well in spurts,” it “has yet to put a whole 40 minutes together.”

The game opened up with Canisius senior forward Ashley Wilkes hitting a jumper, and from then on, the Golden Griffins (2-3) never looked back. The Bearcats were held out of the paint for most of the first half, due to the presence of a tall front court for Canisius. The Bearcats’ lack of size hurt them early on, forcing them to take numerous outside jumpers, on which they failed to connect until junior guard Vaneeshia Paulk hit one with 8:12 left. By then, however, the score was 20-13 in favor of Canisius, and Binghamton would not be able to overcome the deficit.

By the end of the first half, the Bearcats had attempted a total of 26 field goals to the Golden Griffins’ 37. Canisius also connected on 6-of-9 3-pointers, whereas Binghamton missed on its only three-point attempt of the half.

The opening of the second half only brought more woes for Binghamton, as Canisius began to slow the Bearcats offensively. But with 9:38 left and the Golden Griffins’ lead at 21, BU finally got on the comeback trail.

“[We put] pressure on the ball handlers,” Scholl said. “They weren’t able to run the ball as effectively, and not [able to] score as easily.”

Binghamton came within nine points with three minutes left to play, but couldn’t sustain a run in the closing stretch. Paulk played a huge role in Binghamton’s late run and accumulated a career-high and game-high 17 points in addition to pulling down six boards and dishing out two assists.

According to Paulk, the Bearcats need a consistent leader on the floor as an extension of Scholl. When they fall behind and lack someone on the floor to pick them up, Paulk said, the Bearcats tend to let the game slip away.

“We need a scorer, but we need someone vocal, too, someone who can get us energized,” Paulk said.

Referring to this game in particular, Scholl cited turnovers as the reason for the Bearcats’ loss.

“We’d get a stop, come down, turn the ball over, and they’d come down and get a score, and that hurts us a lot,” she said. “That’s what put us down in the 20-point deficit in the first place.”

Scholl said she believes that the team “is at a point right now where they will get tired of losing soon” and will eventually get a win once they themselves believe they can win.

“Once we do get our first win, and they get that feeling, things will start to get rolling,” she said.

Two Binghamton High School alumni returned to the area as members of the Canisius team. Junior guard Jen Morabito and freshman guard Tiahana Mills, who graduated from Binghamton in 2010 and 2012 respectively, were excited to be back.

“Even though we were the away team, we could hear a lot of people cheering for us as our names were called,” Mills said.

As to what their team’s key to success was in the game, Morabito said that the Golden Griffins “were able to get the ball moving, [both] inside and out, [and] we were able to get it together.”

The Bearcats will look to get into the win column for the first time this season at the ASU Classic over the weekend. Binghamton is scheduled to take on Arizona State University at 1 p.m. on Saturday and either University of Nevada, Las Vegas or University of Dayton at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Wells Fargo Arena.