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Big first half against UMBC leads to third conference win for women’s basketball

A fast start coupled with a dominant performance on the boards paved the way for a 66-57 victory for the Binghamton women’s basketball team over UMBC Wednesday night at the RAC Arena.

Jonathan Heisler/Photo Editor Junior guard Jasbriell Swain stuffed the statsheet with 12 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists to lead Binghamton past UMBC on Wednesday.

After a pair of back-to-back lay-ups from senior forward Kara Elofson and sophomore forward Sherae Swinson with 12:21 left to play in the first half gave BU (4-17, 3-5 AE) a 13-12 advantage, the Bearcats would never look back. They followed with seven more unanswered points to extend the margin to 20-12 before cruising into the locker room with a 33-20 lead.

“The biggest thing for us is the way we came out in the first half offensively and defensively,” Binghamton head coach Nicole Scholl said.

In the first half, junior guard Jasbriell Swain put up nine points, 11 rebounds and three assists, while Swinson tallied 13 points and four rebounds.

“We had to focus on [Swain and Swinson] getting shots early,” Scholl said. “Getting our two leading scorers involved early I think helped us flow into the rest of the game.”

As a team, Binghamton grabbed 29 rebounds to UMBC’s 20 in the first half, while shooting 11 percent better than the Retrievers (6-15, 2-6 AE) from the field.

The Bearcats came out in the second half looking to maintain their strong opening-half performance and did just that with an 8-3 run inside the opening 90 seconds. Junior guard Stephanie Jensen propelled the run, scoring five of Binghamton’s eight points.

But UMBC kept fighting and slowly began to chip away at BU’s lead, which was 50-32 with 10 minutes left. With 1:39 remaining, the Retrievers pulled within single digits, 62-53, but wouldn’t come any closer.

The nine-point victory marked the Bearcats’ largest conference win of the season.

Swinson led Binghamton in scoring, finishing with 17 points and nine rebounds. Swain totaled 12 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists to conclude a stellar night.

Elofson and senior forward Simone Thomas scored 10 and 11 points, respectively, giving the Bearcats four scorers in double figures.

“I thought we did a good job of finding people who were going to be successful making open shots,” Scholl said of the offensive balance.

An even more telling stat was the 15 offensive rebounds that BU grabbed.

“Rebounding in general was good, but to go in and get offensive was great,” Scholl said.

The Bearcats are next scheduled to travel to Albany for a Saturday matchup with the Great Danes. With a 17-3 overall record and a 8-0 conference record, Albany is riding a nine-game winning streak.

“You know Albany is gonna be tough, especially going up there on the road,” Scholl said. “The big key for us is to cut down our turnovers against their press, and if we can do that I think we have a chance.”

Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. at SEFCU Arena.