The Binghamton women’s basketball team defeated UAlbany on Sunday 64-52 after honoring forward Kaylee Wasco on senior day.
“I’m really very lucky and grateful that I’ve had this opportunity to coach her and be a part of her growth,” said Binghamton head coach Bethann Shapiro Ord. “I want her to be ready for the world when she leaves here, and I know she’s going to do amazing things.”
The pregame ceremony saw an emotional video from Wasco’s parents, who were not allowed to be at the game due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“Everyone kept apologizing that my senior day was so different, but it was perfect because I got to have one,” Wasco said. “My parents don’t have to physically be here for me to feel the pride that they have for me.”
After losing 43-38 to the Great Danes (6-8, 5-5 America East) the day before, the win was exactly what the team needed. Wasco herself poured in nine points to help the team secure the win. The day before she was the Bearcats’ lead scorer, totaling 13 points.
After getting into foul trouble during her senior game, Wasco’s teammates stepped up in a big way. The Bearcats (5-11, 5-9 AE) scored 36 points in the first half, their highest-scoring half of the year, and just two points less than their total the day before. BU was up by as much as 12 points in the first half.
On Saturday, Albany’s junior guard Ellen Hahne took off, adding six points in the fourth and 15 in total to help the Great Danes defeat Binghamton 43-38. She came back with 14 points the next day to lead her team once again, but the Bearcats were able to hold her to three points in the fourth before she fouled out.
With just eight players dressed over the course of the weekend, four players contributed 30 minutes or more per game. Junior guard Hanna Strawn was on crutches, with Shapiro Ord confirming her injury. There were just 10 players on the bench in total, and the absence of the other teammates was unexplained, but Shapiro Ord said that the reasons were unrelated to COVID-19 restrictions.
Sophomore guard Denai Bowman was one of the players who contributed over 30 minutes and played the entire 40 minutes on Sunday. She was a major contributor for Binghamton, as she had her first double-double, scoring 21 points and grabbing 13 boards — a career-high. She also added four steals. Bowman ranks fourth in the AE in scoring, averaging 12.9 points per game, and third in steals.
“[Bowman] knew what she had to do,” Shapiro Ord said. “She led us with 13 boards. She had the 21 points. She knocked down her free throws. She knows what this team can do, and she knows how much of her impact that has to be.”
Sophomore guard Cassidy Roberts also had a career-high game, scoring 11 points for BU. While Shapiro Ord was impressed with her ability to score, she thought the area where Roberts excelled was in assisting her teammates.
“[Roberts] had five assists and four turnovers, so it’s a positive assist to turnover ratio, which we talk about all the time,” Shapiro Ord said. “It’s so important as a point guard to put your teammates into position to be successful, and she did. She did a great job.”
In addition to Bowman and Roberts, Shapiro Ord was impressed with junior guard Hayley Moore, who netted 10 points and held the Great Danes’ senior guard Kyara Frames, who Shapiro Ord called Albany’s best player, to just two points.
“[Moore] did a tremendous job defensively,” Shapiro Ord said. “If you asked me when she first got here if she would’ve been a defensive stopper, I’d say, ‘Get out of here.’ She has become an unbelievable defensive stopper. She has bruises up and down the sides of her body from all the hits she’s taken, but she just gutted it out, and I’m so proud of her.”
Next up for BU is two matchups against NJIT on Saturday, Feb. 13 and Sunday, Feb. 14. Tipoff for Saturday’s game is set for 2 p.m. at the NJIT Wellness and Events Center in Newark, New Jersey.