It’s been nearly eight months since any Binghamton University athletics program competed, but the drought is over. The Binghamton women’s basketball team’s game against Farleigh Dickinson Wednesday night marked the first BU athletics event since March 11 when the America East (AE) canceled spring sports and postponed fall sports to the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the outcome was not in BU’s favor, as the team was defeated 69-55 at the Events Center.

“We’ll get better,” said Binghamton head coach Bethann Shapiro Ord. “That was a great test. It was great to play somebody else. It’s not a typical year, so we just gotta stay positive as far as your mindset and doing the right things on and off the court.”

The first quarter was evenly matched. Sophomore guard Denai Bowman got the game started with a layup, which was immediately countered by Fairleigh Dickinson’s sophomore forward Maria Roters. The first period mostly followed this pattern, and Binghamton ultimately came out on top 22-20. Within this quarter, six Bearcats contributed points, but the tone of the game quickly changed, and the Knights stole the game away from Binghamton, creating a gap as big as 20 points in the fourth quarter.

“[Farleigh Dickinson] did whatever they wanted on offense, and we just couldn’t get stops,” Shapiro Ord said.

While the Bearcats slightly out-rebounded the Knights, their turnovers caught up, as Binghamton had 19 turnovers while FDU had just eight.

“There were too many turnovers that were unforced — there shouldn’t have been,” Shapiro Ord said. “We did a decent job on the rebounding end when we could finish.”

Despite the loss, this was the youngest team to ever start for BU according to Shapiro Ord. She said that with such a young team, she is pleased with the outcome. Even with a disadvantage in experience, the Bearcats managed to have the highest-scoring player on the court. Bowman posted 22 points, shattering her career high of 14. Last season, Bowman contributed significant minutes and points for the Bearcats off the bench, but now she is expected to be one of the team’s main contributors.

“[Bowman’s] starting to realize that she’s gonna have to score points for us to be successful,” Shapiro Ord said. “You know, she doesn’t have to drop 30, but I would love that … She did a tremendous job.”

While Bowman contributed 40 percent of the team’s points, sophomore guard Clare Traeger had just under 40 percent of the team’s rebounds. She had a career-high 11 rebounds and was the only player on the court to make it to double digits in boards.

Shapiro Ord said that she was also pleased with the team’s only freshman, forward Elena Delicado, who had six points and four rebounds in her first collegiate career game.

“I was happy with our freshman, [Delicado],” Shapiro Ord said. “This is the first time she’s ever played four quarters. Her eyes were really wide even though there were no fans. Lucky for her, I guess, that might have been worse if we had our typical fans.”

The Bearcats also lost sophomore guard Khoryn Bannis to an injury after playing for just one minute in the first quarter. In addition to this, senior forward Kaylee Wasco, one of the team’s starters who averaged 5.2 points last season, did not play in the game. The senior was out due to protocols surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There’s protocols coming back from quarantine and she was just going through protocols, so we’re hopeful for her to be back,” Shapiro Ord said.

On FDU’s side there were five players who scored in double digits. Leading the charge was sophomore forward Sierra DeAngelo with 17 points, while freshman forward Chloe Wilson had 15 points and freshman guard Taylor Crystian had 13. Other than those five, no Knights player had more than one point in the game.

Next up for the Bearcats is a game on the road against Niagara on Saturday. With the nonconference scheduling chaos caused by the pandemic, the matchup was announced just after Wednesday’s game went final. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. at the Gallagher Center in Lewiston, New York.