In a pivotal matchup in Maine on Sunday, the Binghamton women’s basketball team exchanged leads with the Black Bears all throughout the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Thanks to senior guard Kai Moon’s two successful free throws, the score was tied at 61 with 52 seconds left. Moon’s ability to take over games looked like it was coming out when the Bearcat star stole the ball from Maine’s junior forward Maeve Carroll with under 30 seconds left. The game’s fate was now solely in the potent hands of BU’s top scorer. So, as the clock was running out and Moon’s shot was in the air, Sunday seemed primed for a perfect ending.
However, the would-be heroic jumper rimmed out and head coach Bethann Shapiro Ord did not call a timeout despite her team securing the rebound with two seconds left.
“I blame myself,” Shapiro Ord said. “I know I should have called a timeout. I’ll kick myself for that one.”
Hope for a BU victory vanished quickly in overtime, as Maine outscored its opponent 14-4 during the five-minute period while on its way to a 75-65 victory. Binghamton’s offense stalled in the extra session and the team went 0-7 on field goal attempts.
“What a great game it was, but unfortunately we let one slip through,” Shapiro Ord said. “We didn’t play very well, I don’t think. This was a tough one. I thought we were going to get them, but you know, I blame myself on that last one before we went into overtime.”
Moon’s 17 points and three steals led the Bearcats (16-7, 5-5 America East). However, 12 of her points came in the first half and the Black Bears (11-14, 7-4 AE) locked her down in the second half, with no scores until her free throws late in the fourth quarter.
“That was probably one of [Moon]’s lower-scoring games,” Shapiro Ord said. “Typically, some of our other kids have been stepping up and scoring for us and we didn’t get that today. I was hoping that we would continue to do that.”
While Moon was quiet in the third quarter, sophomore forward Annie Ramil stepped up and scored eight of her 11 points in that quarter. Ramil also had two rebounds and steals. Senior guard Carly Boland contributed 13 points, six rebounds and four assists, and senior guard Karlee Krchnavi scored eight points and grabbed eight boards.
Although Binghamton’s offense did not perform as well as it could have, the score was constantly close, and BU was in a position to win for most of the game. However, allowing Maine’s “Big Three” to each have over 20 points was detrimental to BU’s efforts. Despite losing reigning AE Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year senior guard Blanca Millan, other players have stepped up to lead the Black Bears this season.
Carroll led the team with 24 points and 15 rebounds on Sunday, while junior guard Dor Saar also had a double-double with 21 points and 13 assists. Freshman guard Anne Simon netted 23 points and grabbed five steals.
“Maine did such a great job,” Shapiro Ord said. “We didn’t stick to our game plan, and you can’t let a team like that get 40 points in the paint and you have 26. That’s really unacceptable. You can’t turn the ball over when it’s unforced turnovers. We just got to get better and take care of what we do best, which is play good defense, attack the rim and knock down free throws at the end.”
Binghamton missed four free throws in overtime and went 13-of-21, 61.9 percent, in free throw attempts for the whole game.
“Yeah, that’s not us,” Shapiro Ord said. “I keep telling the girls that when we play 40 minutes of basketball, it’s going to be scary, just waiting for that to happen. We’re getting there but this game we did not play 40 minutes.”
The Bearcats will need to play their best on Wednesday, as they are set for a matchup against AE-leading Stony Brook.
“We got a big one next week,” Shapiro Ord said. “We’ll get some rest and get back to fighting.”
Tipoff is scheduled for 6:31 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at Island Federal Credit Union Arena in Stony Brook, New York.