In a dominant showing in their season opener, the Binghamton women’s basketball team rolled to an 89-62 win over Siena on Tuesday night. The Bearcats (1-0 America East) led the game from start to finish, and were led by a career night for their top scorer, senior guard Kai Moon.
Moon scored 29 points in the game, a career high and the most points scored by a Binghamton player in a season opener in the team’s Division I history. She had success in many facets of her game, including shooting 5-8 from 3-point range. Along with her lights-out 3-point shooting, Moon, known for being a strong free-throw shooter, converted 10 of 11 attempts in the game.
“We know that going to the line is easy points for us,” Moon said. “We practice free throws a lot and we knew that their zones had gaps in it and we wanted to attack those and get to the line.”
Along with Moon, Binghamton had two other players score double-digit points in the game. Senior guard Carly Boland had 16 points and junior forward Olivia Ramil scored 14.
“They know that we look to them to do that,” said Binghamton head coach Bethann Shapiro Ord. “They are putting the team on their back and saying, ‘Look, everyone needs to step up.’”
The performance by the Bearcats’ upperclassmen allowed them to build a strong lead, helping the younger players on the team gain valuable experience in the later stages of the game.
“We were up by quite a few, so it was a really good game to get an opportunity for them and they need these minutes,” Shapiro Ord said.
Binghamton set the tone immediately, leading 24-13 after the first quarter. The Bearcats as a team shot 50 percent (9-for-18) in the first 10 minutes.
Siena cut the lead to 29-22 with 6:46 remaining in the first half, but from there the Bearcats blew the game wide open with a 12-0 run, ultimately taking a 47-29 lead into the halftime locker room. Already holding a commanding lead, the Bearcats had their highest-scoring output of the game in the third quarter, scoring 27 more points to take a 74-46 lead. Sophomore guard Hayley Moore ended the period with a deep 3-point field goal at the buzzer.
“We had to keep our foot on the gas,” Moon said. “We knew once we got up early, we couldn’t just coast. We had to keep playing the way we knew how, especially with them being at home. It was important to not let any momentum on their side.”
Binghamton maintained its lead in part by winning the turnover battle decisively, earning a 20-8 advantage. The Bearcats scored 23 points off turnovers and gave up just six points. Another area where Binghamton dominated was rebounding. The Bearcats had a plus-10 advantage in the offensive rebounding margin, leading to 13 second-chance points compared to Siena’s five. The Bearcats also buried 10 out of their 21 3-pointers for an impressive 47 percent.
The game was extra sweet for Boland, as the Clifton Park, New York native got to play in front of her family and friends in her hometown of Albany.
“It felt really good playing at home, a lot of people came,” Boland said. “Every time we have played here we have lost, so it felt good to play well and get the [win].”
After winning their season opener, the Bearcats will compete in their home opener this Friday, Nov. 8 against Lafayette. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. from the Events Center in Vestal, New York.