What looked like a potential nail-biter quickly turned into a trouncing.
The Binghamton University women’s basketball team (12-16, 6-9 America East) was able to hang with University at Albany (20-9, 14-2 AE) through the first 12 minutes of action at SEFCU Arena Wednesday evening before losing control of the game in a 69-37 defeat.
With 9:34 left in the first half, junior guard Mallory Lawes knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Bearcats a 12-9 lead. From there, however, the Great Danes took complete control of the game, embarking on a 19-2 run to finish the half.
“Overall, [I’m] just very disappointed in our performance,” Binghamton head coach Nicole Scholl said. “Obviously, Albany’s a good team and came out ready to play and I just don’t think we stepped up and met their challenge.”
Binghamton had little answer for Albany freshman center Megan Craig, who scored a game-high 19 points, or junior Ebone Henry, who tallied 12 points.
BU sophomore guard Jasbriell Swain, who finished with seven points and six rebounds, was able to convert on a jumper in the opening possession of the second half, but Craig and Henry powered the Great Danes to a 14-5 run over the next five minutes to extend their lead to 42-21.
“It was one of those things where we weren’t hitting shots and turning the basketball over too much,” Scholl said. “Albany got some easy transition scores and that kind of broke things open for them a little.”
The last time these two teams met on Jan. 25, Binghamton lost a heartbreaker at the Events Center, 37-36. While that game was fairly even statistically, turnovers and field goal percentage proved to be the difference this time around. Binghamton recorded 21 turnovers to Albany’s 13, and the Bearcats managed to shoot just 27.3 percent from the field while the Great Danes shot 44.1 percent.
“I thought we turned the ball over way too much,” Scholl said. “If you look at the stats, I think they ended up with almost 15 more shot opportunities than we did, and for the last three games now we’ve had 20-plus turnovers which has hurt us, especially not having that many extra shot opportunities. I thought they did a good job of taking the ball away from [senior guard] Andrea [Holmes] and forcing some other players to try and step up and make plays and unfortunately we didn’t shoot very well.”
Holmes and senior guard Orla O’Reilly each contributed a team-high eight points for the Bearcats, while senior forward Viive Rebane added five points and a game-best four blocks.
With the loss, Binghamton is locked into the sixth seed entering the America East Conference Tournament. The last time that the Bearcats carried lower than a fifth seed in the tournament came in 2003, when the squad was seeded No. 7.
While tomorrow’s game against University of New Hampshire is meaningless in terms of seeding, Binghamton will be looking for some much needed momentum heading into next week’s conference tournament. Tomorrow is also Senior Day and the last regular season home game for four key players on the Bearcats roster: Holmes, Rebane, O’Reilly and forward Sinead O’Reilly.
“Momentum is going to be huge for us,” Scholl said. “There’s going to be a lot of emotion going on obviously for Saturday’s game against New Hampshire being our Senior Day, our last home game playing in front of the great fans we’ve had here all year long. So hopefully we come out with a little more energy and a little more intensity and are able to play well and end on a good note.”
Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at the Events Center.