Turnovers doom women’s basketball in loss to Cornell

Turnovers marred the Binghamton women’s basketball team’s performance Wednesday night, and the Bearcats couldn’t overcome their mistakes.

Cornell led most of the way en route to a 63-55 victory, dealing Binghamton (1-6) its second straight loss.

“I thought in the first half we played a lot more aggressive,” Binghamton head coach Nicole Scholl said. “Second half, we were a lot more passive. The big key for us was the number of turnovers. Looking at the stats sheet, 24 turnovers for us gave them 27 points, and that really kind of says it all.”

The Bearcats got off to a hot start in the first half, converting three of their first four shots to take an early 7-2 lead. But two jumpers by Cornell freshman forward Nia Marshall and a basket by freshman guard Kerri Moran cut the Binghamton lead to one at 9-8, the last time BU would hold an advantage the rest of the way.

Cornell (5-3), led by senior Shelby Lyman’s seven points, went on a 13-5 run to open up a 21-13 lead over the Bearcats with 10 minutes remaining in the first half. Two free throws by junior forward Sherae Swinson trimmed the lead to six before another Cornell scoring spurt stretched the difference to 31-21.

But Binghamton would respond before the halftime buzzer sounded, as a mid-range jumper by sophomore forward Morgan Murphy brought BU to within eight and jump-started the Bearcat offense. After back-to-back baskets by Binghamton, senior forward Julia Barac scored Binghamton’s sixth consecutive point with one minute left in the first to shrink Cornell’s lead to only four. BU would head to the locker room trailing, 33-29, with the momentum swung in its favor.

“For us we just stepped up our defensive pressure and intensity,” Scholl said. “We had some better looks at the basket with that. We trapped a little bit and just got a little more aggressive and were able to hit some shots.”

Whatever momentum the Bearcats had before halftime quickly dissolved with the start of the second. A Marshall layup and a 3-pointer by senior guard Stephanie Long increased Cornell’s lead to 38-29 after the first five minutes of play.

A jumper by Swinson pulled the Bearcats to within six, but BU would not come any closer in the second half. Cornell’s lead ballooned to 13, at 60-47, before a mini Bearcat scoring outbreak cut the lead to eight, 63-55, right before the final horn.

“We made a good push,” Scholl said. “We cut it to four at one point in time. We just couldn’t get over that hump of getting that extra stop and getting that extra look at the basket.”

Despite being outscored by eight points, the Bearcats shot a better percentage from the field than Cornell. Binghamton connected on 52.4 percent of their field goals and 50 percent from beyond the arc, compared to the 40.4 and 33.3 percent marks posted by Cornell. However, Binghamton’s 24 turnovers dwarfed Cornell’s 11. The Big Red was also able to add nine second-chance points to BU’s two.

Senior guard Stephanie Jensen’s performance was a bright spot for the Bearcats. She scored a career-high 17 points, including five 3-pointers.

“With Cornell set in the zone defense it opened up some shots for Steph, and she was able to knock them down,” Scholl said.

The Bearcats are set to return to action Saturday against St. Bonaventure. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. at the Events Center.