With under 30 seconds left in the game, junior forward Olivia Ramil blocked New Hampshire redshirt senior forward Ashley Storey’s 3-point shot, and the Binghamton women’s basketball team clinched a 51-42 America East (AE) quarterfinal win over UNH. The Events Center crowd rose to its feet, cheering and applauding as senior guard Carly Boland dribbled out the clock, sending BU to a semifinal matchup against Stony Brook on Sunday.
“Thank you to the Binghamton community,” Olivia Ramil said. “You guys really showed up. I can’t put into words how much this game meant to me.”
Less than three minutes into the game, Olivia Ramil’s sister, sophomore forward Annie Ramil, went down and had to be taken off the court after scoring the Bearcats’ first points of the game. Out of the 16 conference games the team has played, there have been 10 games where either Annie Ramil or Olivia Ramil scored the first points for BU. Binghamton head coach Bethann Shapiro Ord said she has no initial report on Annie Ramil’s status.
“I just told her get to the ice, and we’ll figure it out,” Shapiro Ord said.
In her sister’s absence, Olivia Ramil stepped up, tying her career-high 17 points and securing 13 rebounds. She was the only player from both teams to have a double-double, and she tied her career high in blocks with five. She also made a 3-pointer, just the fourth of her career.
“[Olivia Ramil] is a good player,” Storey said. “She’s strong inside, so it’s hard, actually, it’s really hard to post up on her and keep my position, and then on the other end play defense on her. She’s strong inside, she’s a good player and she’s smart. She gave us a tough one last week, and she fought again this week so credit to her.”
Olivia Ramil was not the only player to step up for Binghamton (22-8, 10-6 AE), as senior guard Karlee Krchnavi had eight points, 11 rebounds and a steal.
“At halftime, coach was emphasizing rebounds, and I’m sitting there like, ‘well every ball is mine now,’ because that’s what I do best,” Krchnavi said. “Those blocks — I said it in the last interview — the crowd gets me fired up. The crowd just going crazy with those blocks made me feel great. Defensively, I just felt like a mad dog. I wanted every ball, every shot, every steal, every block.”
Freshman guard Denai Bowman stepped onto the court after Annie Ramil left the game, and posted solid numbers in her first career playoff game. She scored nine points, including a few important baskets near the end of the game, and recorded two steals.
“Denai Bowman, how about that,” Shapiro Ord said. “She is a freshman … She had ice in her veins again, and in the last game, we wouldn’t have won that game if she didn’t get those buckets at the end. We ask her every day, every game to play the toughest defense, the toughest player on the other team, and she comes up with those big buckets. She doesn’t play like a freshman at all.”
Boland was also vital to BU’s performance, scoring another nine points and recording two blocks.
Although BU secured the win, the team struggled in the first half and was held to just 20 points. While UNH (10-19, 7-9 AE) held the Bearcats in check, the Wildcats had only 21 points themselves going into the second half. The low-scoring half was the result of senior guard Kai Moon, the 2019-20 AE Player of the Year, being held scoreless in the first part of the game.
“[Moon] is the best player in our league and she’s a tremendous player and has had a great year,” said UNH head coach Maureen Magarity. “I thought we played a pretty good game against her a couple days ago in the regular season, but just the way that [junior guard] Amanda [Torres] came out in our post and the way we adjusted some of the things we were doing on the ball screen coverage forced [Moon] to have to give the ball up.”
Moon ended the game with six points, only the second time this season she has not scored in double digits. She also had six rebounds and a steal.
For UNH, Storey led the charge with 17 points and seven rebounds. She was helped out by Torres and senior guard Caroline Soucy, who each had eight points. Soucy also had seven rebounds and a steal. Despite the effort, the Wildcats couldn’t earn a victory, and BU will move on to play Stony Brook in the semifinals.
“Stony Brook is obviously a good team,” Shapiro Ord said. “They finished first, but I think we’re playing much better basketball. Both times I thought we had a really good shot, so even though the game’s going to be there, don’t they say we have little Long Island here? So hopefully we’ll have a lot of our Binghamton fans in Long Island.”
The semifinal game against Stony Brook is scheduled for Sunday, March 8. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. in the Island Federal Credit Union Arena in Stony Brook, New York.