Forty-one seconds into the women’s basketball home opener against Lafayette, senior guard Kai Moon collided with Lafayette’s freshman guard Jess Booth. Both players had to be taken off the court. While Booth never returned, Moon left the court for five minutes before subbing back in. Moon’s return proved vital for the Bearcats. For the second straight game, the guard set a new career high in points, scoring 36 and propelling Binghamton to a 74-64 win over Lafayette.
“Thirty-six points — that’s a lot of points,” said BU head coach Bethann Shapiro Ord. “Take 36 from 74, what do you got?”
Moon was responsible for almost half of the team’s offense; 36 points in one game is tied for the fourth-highest total in program history and ties the Division I program record. She also contributed three steals, three rebounds and an assist. Thirteen of Moon’s points came from free throws, where she was 13-for-14 on the night.
Moon was fouled 11 times throughout the night. With less than three minutes left in the game, Lafayette sophomore forward Makaila Wilson committed four fouls, all against Moon, sending her to the free-throw line three times. Wilson ultimately fouled out with 49 seconds left in the game. Lafayette senior guard Sarah Agnello fouled Moon four times, sending her to the free-throw line once.
“I’m used to getting fouled at this point,” Moon said. “I’ve played a considerable amount of games where you know they’re gonna foul you. I just try to be strong with the ball, and I think it’s all a part of being a senior and a point guard.”
The first basket of the game didn’t come until almost two minutes in, when freshman guard Zahra Barnes converted a layup. It was the Bearcats’ first and last lead until the very end of the second period. With fewer than four minutes left in the second quarter, the Bearcats were down by nine but went on a 10-0 run to enter halftime up by one. Contributing to this run was sophomore guard Hayley Moore, junior forward Kaylee Wasco and Moon.
“The first half we had a slow start just a bit,” Shapiro Ord said. “We picked it up defensively, getting into our flow. I felt like [the] second half we just keep grinding out.”
Throughout the second half, senior guard Carly Boland was a force for the team. She ended the night with 15 points, 10 of which came in the second half. Boland had 16 points in the season opener and thus is averaging 15.5 points per game. Lafayette nearly took over the lead in the fourth quarter, coming within two points of the Bearcats, but Boland had back-to-back 3-pointers to put the team up by eight points with 5:11 left.
“In the beginning my shot wasn’t really falling,” Boland said. “But my teammates and coaches picked me up and set me up for good shots.”
Senior guard Karlee Krchnavi and Wasco were also contributors to the game. Krchnavi ended the night with eight points, 11 boards, one block and one steal, while Wasco had four points, seven rebounds and three dimes.
“[Krchnavi] was terrific,” Shapiro Ord said. “I’d say her and Wasco came in big. I’ve been bringing the two of them off the bench, and when they come into the game, it’s not like the team, because we’re subbing, goes down. We don’t miss a beat. We just keep attacking, and it’s been great. I’d say both of them were the unsung heroes. They did all the dirty work.”
Four freshmen saw the court Friday night, and freshman guard Khoryn Bannis saw her first collegiate points when she converted a layup in the fourth quarter. Bannis was fouled by Lafayette junior forward Natalie Kucowski in the process and was able to secure an additional point from the line.
“I was so happy for Khoryn [Bannis],” Shapiro Ord said. “She’s really, really good defensively, so I just told her to attack when she can, and that’s what her team needed from her. She did, and she was strong with it.”
Binghamton’s 2-0 start to the season marks only the third time that the Bearcats have started their season with two wins. The team hopes to continue its early success to the season on Tuesday when they face off against Bloomsburg University.
Tipoff against the Huskies is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at the Events Center in Vestal, New York.