After losing to the University of Vermont nearly a month ago in the teams’ first meeting, the Binghamton University women’s basketball team took revenge against the Catamounts in Wednesday night’s game at the Events Center. On the back of an impressive second-half surge, the Bearcats climbed back from a one-point halftime deficit to knock off Vermont, 54-43.
A 30-10 Catamount run in the second half propelled UVM (9-16, 3-9 America East) to a 69-48 victory in the teams’ first meeting, but Binghamton, now 12-13 and 6-6 in America East play, returned the favor in Wednesday’s game with a 27-9 second-half run of its own. The surge sealed a bounce-back win for BU, who fell to conference-leading Boston University this past Saturday.
Senior guard Andrea Holmes led the way for the Bearcats with a game-high 17 points and five rebounds. She accounted for seven of the team’s first nine points of the game and continued to help BU from the free-throw line by converting on six of her seven attempts.
Holmes credited an aggressive game plan for both her individual success and the success of the team.
“[Head coach Nicole Scholl] told us today to go to the basket and try to get to the free-throw line and I think we did that,” she said. “We got some easy looks in transition and that was a big part [of] why the lead was built.”
Binghamton closed out the first half without much momentum, having turned the ball over eight times and failing to score in the final three minutes. Despite the team’s shaky play, BU entered the locker room down only 24-23.
Scholl said she knew her team needed to pick up its play in the second half and she was happy with the way the squad responded.
“[At] halftime we really challenged our players from a defensive perspective and [challenged them] offensively just to pick up their level of play and I really thought that they did that,” Scholl said. “It came out very successful in the end.”
The Bearcats came out on the strength of a 20-5 run in the first 11 minutes of the second half. Senior guard Orla O’Reilly recorded nine of the team’s points during the span after failing to score at all in the first half.
Sophomore guard Jasbriell Swain gave Binghamton an extra boost with her hustle on defense and solid distribution on the offensive end. She ended the game with 13 rebounds for the second straight game, also adding six points and six assists.
Senior forward Viive Rebane also lifted the Bearcats with her offensive rebounding and scoring ability. She finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds (six offensive), recording her seventh double-double of the season. Rebane, who has encountered foul trouble numerous times this season, was able to play 34 minutes and committed only one foul on the night.
Scholl was also pleased with Binghamton’s ability to out-rebound the Catamounts, the conference’s top rebounding squad.
“I thought we did a great job of rebounding tonight,” she said. “We out-rebounded them 48-31, which I thought was fantastic because they are a very good rebounding team.”
Swain, the Bearcats’ second-leading rebounder and 12th in the America East, said she took Vermont’s rebounding ability as a challenge.
“I feel like that’s my role on this team,” she said. “To be really aggressive on the defensive end and hit the boards really hard. Coach mentioned in practice that the girl that I was guarding came off a game with 10 rebounds, so I feel like that was a challenge for not only myself, but as a team we wanted to come together and keep them off the boards and be really aggressive with them because we knew they were going to be really aggressive with us.”
Late in the second half, freshman forward Sherae Swinson, who had begun to see significant playing time, left the game with an apparent right leg injury. The severity of the injury is still unknown.
Wednesday’s win puts Binghamton in fifth place in the conference and gives the team momentum heading into its next game against University of Hartford tomorrow afternoon.
Scholl said she is looking ahead and hoping for the team to continue to get better.
“From here on out, every win is important,” Scholl said. “[Wednesday’s] win was definitely a huge win for us … And now with the upcoming games we have … things don’t get any easier.
“Come the end of the season and once you’re at the conference tournament, it becomes anybody’s game,” she continued. “But now, it’s about maintaining confidence and success and continued improvement and being ready to go once the tournament rolls around.”
Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. tomorrow in Hartford.