Senior forward Nikkia Smith led all scorers with 14 points as Hartford downed the Binghamton women’s basketball team, 65-50, on Wednesday night.
The Hawks (15-8, 6-4 America East) jumped out early, going on a 5-0 run in the opening 2:27, with Hartford sophomore guard Amber Bepko nailing the first of her two threes.
Binghamton (4-19, 3-7 American East) responded with a 9-0 run later in the half, jumping out to an 11-8 lead. Junior guard Vaneeshia Paulk, who finished with nine points and four rebounds, highlighted the streak with a jumper from behind the arc.
Things were all tied up at 14 when Hartford moved ahead of the Bearcats permanently, closing out the final 4:48 with a 12-5 run and entering the break up, 26-19. Smith catalyzed the run with four points and one assist. Hartford sophomore forward Cherelle Moore contributed three points and two assists in the stretch. Moore finished with nine points.
“We were remaining close, kind of within reach, but we could never get to that point where we could get stops,” Binghamton head coach Nicole Scholl said.
The second half did not fare much better for the away side, as Hartford stretched its lead to 12 with just over nine minutes remaining in the game. But BU senior guard Mallory Lawes buried a three and Paulk scored off a turnover to cut the deficit to seven just over a minute later.
Hartford responded, however, with a 6-0 run, regaining a comfortable 50-38 lead before registering 12 of the game’s final 16 points.
Binghamton aided the Hawks by turning the ball over 22 times on the night, and Hartford produced 22 points off the Bearcats’ miscues.
“The second half we turned the ball over and they made some convenient layups,” Scholl said. “We just could never pull within reach again.”
Binghamton also had trouble on the glass, managing just 26 rebounds compared to Hartford’s 41.
“I just thought they were more aggressive to the boards tonight then we were,” Scholl said. “They just played a little bit harder.”
Eighteen of Hartford’s 41 rebounds were offensive, leading to 15 second-chance points.
Lawes finished with a team-high 10 points and four boards for the Bearcats, while junior guard Jasbriell Swain added eight points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Paulk and Smith were named America East players of the game.
“We just [have] to get back in the gym again and move our focus on to Boston [University],” Scholl said. “You know, we played them very close up at their place. We just [have] to keep getting better.”
The Bearcats have won just one regular-season game at the Events Center this year, but Scholl said she hopes her team can get on a roll against Boston University (19-4, 9-1 America East) on Saturday in a matchup that will commence a three-game homestand for Binghamton.
“It’ll be nice to get back on our own home court again,” Scholl said. “Hopefully we can get a couple wins here.”
Tipoff against the Terriers is set for 2:30 p.m.