As the clock wound down, the Binghamton women’s basketball team was sitting on a comfortable lead over the Albany Great Danes, and smiles fell across the faces of the Bearcats. For the first time in nearly a decade, the Bearcats defeated Albany in a 58-42 victory.
The Bearcats (16-6, 5-4 America East) started the contest strong against the Great Danes (8-15, 4-6 AE), taking hold of the game and refusing to let it go. In the first quarter, the Bearcats were able to go on a 12-0 run, establishing a 10-point lead over the Great Danes going into the second quarter.
The second quarter saw the Bearcats continue on their path toward victory. They held onto their lead for the entirety of the quarter due in large part to strong offensive showings from senior guard Kai Moon and junior forward Olivia Ramil. The Great Danes’ leading scorer, senior center Alexi Schecter, was held to just seven points in the game.
“That was the game plan,” said Binghamton head coach Bethann Shapiro Ord. “We don’t wanna give them any easy, open looks … We did a tremendous job defensively. We had 16 steals. Our pressure, we actually made some things happen and turned them over and once they had a chance to set up it was rushed for them.”
The pressure continued all the way into the fourth quarter. The Great Danes knocked the Bearcats’ lead down to only five with nine minutes left on the clock; however, Binghamton never took its foot off the gas and was able to finish the contest with a 16-point advantage over its longtime rivals.
“Every time we came in for any media time-out, any end-of-quarter situation, we were constantly reiterating the fact that being up doesn’t mean anything,” Moon said. “We fed off the energy of the fans, so I think that helped us out a lot. We stayed together, we focused on trying to execute and I think toward the end when we kept the lead we worked on taking time off the clock since time was on our side.”
In the end, the Bearcats left the floor with their first win over the Great Danes since Feb. 20, 2011. This ended a 21-game skid, including the teams’ first matchup this season and last year’s AE Quarterfinals.
Moon continued to show why she is a front-runner for the AE Player of the Year, ending the game with 23 points and six steals. Moon is currently leading the conference in scoring. This week’s AE co-Player of the Week, senior guard Karlee Krchnavi, followed suit with nine points and four rebounds. Krchnavi is currently ranked 11th in rebounding in the conference with an average of 6.2 rebounds per game. Alongside Moon, Ramil and Krchnavi, senior guard Carly Boland impressed when she sunk two clutch 3-pointers to further the Bearcats’ fourth-quarter lead.
While sitting on a record of 16-6, the Bearcats are now 10 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2000-01 season. After beating Maine earlier this season, they will once again take on the defending conference champions this Sunday in the team’s next game. A victory against Maine (10-14, 6-4 AE) would place the Bearcats in third place in the conference.
Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 9 from Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, Maine.