Down 60-58 with less than 30 seconds left in the Binghamton women’s basketball team’s game against UMass Lowell, the River Hawks (13-14, 9-5 America East) were scrambling to tie up the game. The ball was passed off to UMass Lowell freshman guard Shamyjha Price, who went for a layup under the net but was blocked by senior guard Carly Boland.
After the block, the River Hawks fouled senior guard Kai Moon, who made one of two free throws, giving UMass Lowell the opportunity to make a 3-pointer and go into overtime. But when the River Hawks inbounded the ball, Moon swooped in for the steal and was fouled once more, securing a 62-58 victory for the Bearcats (18-8, 7-6 AE).
“I’m so happy for those kids,” said Binghamton head coach Bethann Shapiro Ord. “What a heart, I mean, what a tough game we played today.”
The Bearcats were down by as many as 14 points, making this their largest comeback of the season, but the team only scored four points in the first quarter and committed six turnovers. The only scorers of the quarter were Moon and junior forward Kaylee Wasco.
“I kept telling them they have to attack,” Shapiro Ord said. “We can’t just rely on our outside shooting, and they knew that. We just had to attack and we weren’t playing in the mode. Once they got into it, we were fine.”
The Bearcats slowly got back into the game but didn’t take the lead until the third quarter, when senior guard Karlee Krchnavi sunk a 3-pointer.
Shapiro Ord decided to put in freshman guard Clare Traeger early on, and the decision proved to be vital, as Traeger was able to secure a career-high seven points and four rebounds for the team.
“We had a lot of people come in and help out,” Shapiro Ord said. “I’m really proud of players like [Traeger] and of course [freshman guard] Zahra [Barnes] and [freshman guard] Cassidy [Roberts], who has been sick. Everybody was trying to help each other out. And how about Wasco, who was just working her butt off out there in the post?”
UMass Lowell’s top scorer, senior guard Ren’cia Rolling, wasn’t in the game, as she is out for the season due to injury. Last time the Bearcats took on the River Hawks, Binghamton lost by 10 points and Rolling had a total of 20 points. However, sophomore guard Kharis Idom has been an effective replacement for Rolling, as she amassed a team-high 14 points on Wednesday night.
“That’s a really good Lowell team,” Shapiro Ord said. “I don’t care that their point guard’s out. They still were scrappy.”
The teams were very evenly matched, as the River Hawks slightly out-rebounded Binghamton 29-28, and UMass Lowell had eight steals compared to BU’s seven. The top scorer for the Bearcats was Moon, who had a game-high 19 points and three steals. Moon now has 1,385 total career points. Boland was the only other Bearcat in double digits; she had 11 points, seven assists and two blocks. Boland is now fourth in the AE in blocks.
The River Hawks had four players in double digits, but it was not enough to propel them to a win. Binghamton players, such as freshman guard Denai Bowman, sophomore forward Annie Ramil, Traeger and Boland all stepped up in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.
This is Binghamton’s 18th win of the season — the fourth-best total in all 19 years of its NCAA Division I era. The Bearcats are hoping to earn their 19th win of the season when they take on winless Hartford on Saturday, Feb. 22 on the road. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Chase Arena in West Hartford, Connecticut.