After cruising by Division II Bloomsburg (0-1 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) 70-45 on Tuesday night, the Binghamton women’s basketball team (3-0 America East) remains undefeated. The win marked the first time since the 1998-99 season that BU opened a season 3-0. The Bearcats’ victory was rarely in doubt as the team took an early 8-0 lead and finished the first period up 25-7. The immediate offensive showing in the opening period set the tone for the game.
“They were sharing the basketball,” said BU head coach Bethann Shapiro Ord. “They were making extra passes and it was really some pretty basketball when we do that.”
Unsurprisingly, the Bearcats were led by senior guards Kai Moon and Carly Boland. Moon scored a game-high 21 points by shooting 8-for-16 from the field and draining five of nine 3-point attempts. Moon is off to one of the best starts in program history, as she is averaging a career-high 28.7 points per game so far on the young campaign.
Boland continued to score at the highest rate in her career. With 16 points, including four buckets from beyond the arc, Boland’s points-per-game average this season is now a career-best 15.7. She also scored her 600th point as a Bearcat, a feat her coach called “terrific.” Boland’s improved scoring production is huge for a Bearcat team that saw its most prolific scoring threat graduate last year.
“I told her, for us to be successful, she has to [score more points],” Shapiro Ord said. “She knows that and is very, very capable. I’m proud of her because I challenge her all the time and she always steps up.”
Binghamton’s offensive unit has scored at least 70 points in all three games and is averaging 77.7 points per game. On Tuesday, the team hit 50 percent (9-for-18) of its 3-point attempts and 45.2 percent (28-for-62) of its total attempts from the field.
“I didn’t realize that we scored so many points,” Moon said. “I think that’s probably a huge boost from last year. Our upperclassmen are stepping up and playing the way we need to. We’re sharing the ball a lot. [Boland] stepped up and I think that’s been huge and I think that’s been key for us so far.”
Though the offense is clicking for the undefeated Bearcats, both Shapiro Ord and Moon expressed a desire for defensive improvements.
“We’re still a work in progress,” Shapiro Ord said. “I like some things, but we just have to do a better job defensively. That’s what I’m looking for. We got to get better stops and boxing out and rebounding for sure.”
BU managed to successfully limit Bloomsburg’s top scorer from last season, junior guard Emma Saxton, to just one point. On last season’s team, Saxton averaged 12.4 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Freshman guard McKenna Hayward led Bloomsburg in Tuesday’s matchup with 11 points in 24 minutes.
“I think tonight, we didn’t look as sharp as we would have liked,” Moon said. “I think most of that just boils down to effort. It’s not even about X’s and O’s really, but staying in front of who we’re guarding.”
Having a big lead throughout the game allowed Shapiro Ord to give action to her entire squad, as all 13 Bearcats on the active roster played for at least six minutes.
Sophomore forward Annie Ramil also impressed, scoring eight points while securing a game-high 10 rebounds.
There were high hopes and expectations for Binghamton coming into the season, and the team’s fast start will go a long way come stretch time. With the senior class stepping up to even greater levels and young players showing promise, the Bearcats have reason to be excited about their season.
“Our foot’s on the gas right now and we’re going to ride this momentum hopefully to winter break and then onto the conference,” Moon said.
The Bearcats will continue their season with a home matchup against Niagara University. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16 at the Events Center in Vestal, New York.