In terms of personal accomplishments, there’s very little that senior guard Kai Moon has not achieved as a Binghamton Bearcat. Moon’s résumé in her already successful three-year tenure at Binghamton includes two America East All-Conference teams (2018 and 2019) and the AE All-Rookie team as a freshman in 2017.
Last year, Moon led the team with an .835 free-throw percentage and was second with 13.1 points per game. This year, her role as the heart and soul of Binghamton’s offense is solidified after the departure of Rebecca Carmody, ’19. However, Moon doesn’t seem completely satisfied with what she has accomplished thus far.
“I think there are definitely things on my bucket list that I want to hit,” Moon said. “There are teams I want to beat that I haven’t. This is the last time to do everything.”
In the offseason, Moon trained to improve her range and ability to work in tight spaces so defenders have an even more difficult time guarding her. Her confidence in her work and skill led her to declare, “This is the year I get [a quadruple double].”
Another goal for Moon, and one that is more crucial for BU’s team success than a quadruple double, is staying healthy. Moon only appeared in 20 of the team’s 30 games last season thanks to a torn ligament in her foot that sidelined her for two months. The injury could explain why Moon’s numbers last season were slightly down from the season prior. Her field goal percentage dropped from 38.1 to 35.3, while her 3-point percentage dipped to 35.2 from 36.7.
Moon was still a force, though, scoring 17 points in Binghamton’s loss in the AE Quarterfinals last March. Expectations are high for Moon this season after she finished last year on a healthy high note. She was named to the AE preseason all-conference team for the second consecutive year in October.
The fact that the upcoming 2019-20 women’s basketball season is Moon’s last hurrah means more to BU’s top scorer than just another chance to display her greatness.
“Knowing that this will be the last time that I’ll be in a Bearcat uniform playing college basketball is enough motivation for me,” Moon said. “I want to make this the most memorable season as I can and go out on a strong note.”
A team-first mentality is what makes Moon a great leader on a young Binghamton team that includes six freshmen. Moon and other upperclassmen on the team have stepped into leadership roles to help the rookies feel more comfortable in their transition to college ball. As a leader, she has been more vocal than in previous years and strives to give her young teammates confidence on and off the court. Her style stems simply from remembering the nervousness and pressure she put on herself when she was a freshman.
“I think trying to instill confidence in each and every one of them to be comfortable to lead in their own ways will only help them gel together,” Moon said.
While team chemistry is important, Moon stressed that wins will come only if everyone is locked in for 40 minutes each game. She also said that the defense’s ability to minimize opponents scoring is crucial for the team to solidify wins. This “locked-in” mentality should be present more during the second year of head coach Bethann Shapiro Ord’s system. Moon said the team started to really grasp the new system at the end of last season and is already more comfortable with it.
Binghamton’s ability to play as a cohesive unit while staying healthy can greatly improve the team’s win-loss record. But for Moon, the path to success will stem from a sense of controlled urgency while leaving nothing on the court in her final season as a Bearcat.
“I have nothing to lose and I think we have so much to gain if we give it our all,” Moon said. “That’s what you’ll get from me.”