A tumultuous shooting performance by the Binghamton women’s basketball team on Wednesday night led to a 61-43 loss to Vermont, which precludes the Bearcats (5-23, 4-11 America East) from finishing with an America East tournament seed higher than sixth.
The Bearcats were undone in the first half as the inside dominance of UVM sophomore forward Niki Taylor was on display. Taylor led the Catamounts (9-19, 6-9 AE) to a 15-3 start in the opening 5:18, scoring 10 of her 16 points during the interval.
Things did not get much better for Binghamton as the half progressed, as a 15-0 run by the Catamounts over a span of 7:53 put Vermont ahead 36-13 with only 36 seconds remaining in the first half.
“I thought Vermont came out more prepared,” Binghamton head coach Nicole Scholl said. “We took a while to get going, and by then they had a good lead.”
Senior forward Lauren Buschmann scored 12 of Vermont’s 15 points during the late first half run. Buschmann would finish the game with 19 points, leading all scorers, and a game-high 12 boards.
More concerning for the Bearcats was their shooting during the opening half; BU went an ice-cold 4-of-21 from the field. The lone bright spot was junior guard Jasbriell Swain, who shot 3-of-5 from the floor and 3-of-3 from the line.
When asked if it was execution or shot selection that kept the Bearcats from finding their rhythm offensively, Scholl said, “A little of both. We didn’t make the best decisions, and other things didn’t really go our way.”
The second half proved to be more of the same for Binghamton, which came no closer than within 18.
Swain would finish the game with 12 points and nine rebounds. Senior forward Kara Elofson pitched in seven points and four boards.
A win next week guarantees the Bearcats at least the seventh seed in the tournament, but with the sixth spot still in the air, it’s possible that the Bearcats could avoid a first-round matchup with conference front-runners Albany and Hartford. Boston University is ineligible to play even though they currently sit at second in the conference standings.
A push to sixth could further benefit the Bearcats in that it would position them against the likes of Stony Brook, UMBC or the Catamounts, who are all currently tied for the elusive three seed.
The Bearcats have already beaten UMBC 66-57 on the road in what was one of their better wins of the season on Jan. 30.
In its last matchup with Stony Brook at the Events Center on Feb. 13, BU fell just short of an upset, losing 60-57.
The Bearcats will need a win over UMBC on Saturday coupled with a New Hampshire loss to Maine in order to secure the sixth seed. Still, Scholl said her team’s focus isn’t on seeding or who they’ll be playing in the opening round of the conference tournament, but rather, it’s on giving a spirited Senior Day performance.
“We are not thinking about the sixth seed, we are just thinking about UMBC,” Scholl said. “It’s our last home game of the year, and the last home game for our three seniors.”
Binghamton’s final regular season matchup is set for 2 p.m. Saturday at the Events Center.