Two America East teams have beaten the Binghamton University women’s basketball team this season. The first to do so comes to Binghamton for a rematch tomorrow night.
Last week, the Bearcats stormed back from a 17-point second-half deficit but came up just short against the Boston University Terriers. Over winter break, Binghamton had a three-game winning streak snapped by a loss to the University of Maryland-Baltimore County Retrievers.
Retriever junior forward Michelle Kurowski dominated the Bearcats when they visited UMBC on Jan. 12. In the first half, she matched BU’s point total, accounting for 16 of her team’s 29 points. She finished with a game-high 30 on 12-of-19 shooting from the field including three 3-pointers.
No other UMBC player scored more than six, but the Retrievers got the 55-38 win in a game the Bearcats never led.
“[The coaches] were watching film on it and we were just disgusted with how we played,” said Binghamton head coach Nicole Scholl.
Junior guard Orla O’Reilly agreed.
“We weren’t prepared for the game, I think we underestimated them as a team,” she said. “[This time] we’re putting a real emphasis on their personnel. We let one of their players come out with 30 points. That shouldn’t happen on any night.”
Entering tomorrow’s game between the teams, both Binghamton and UMBC are tied for second place in the conference with identical 7-2 records behind leader Boston University at 9-0.
“[With Boston being in first place], now the fight seems to be for those two and three spots,” Scholl said. “But we don’t want other teams to dictate where [we are] at the end of the season. It’s our job to play how we’re capable of playing and make our own destiny.”
The Retrievers will visit BU to take on a Bearcat team that is the only America East team still unbeaten this season at home. At 8-0, this year’s Bearcats are off to the best home start in the program’s Division I history.
“I think from the players’ perspective it’s been fun playing at home,” Scholl said. “We had a great crowd in the [Saturday] game against Maine and hopefully those crowds keep continuing with our success.”
Kurowski heads into tomorrow night’s game fresh off a 15-point performance in a 65-57 win over Stony Brook on Sunday. She leads the conference in scoring, averaging 15.8 points per game, just ahead of Bearcat Andrea Holmes’ 14.8. In conference play, Kurowski’s scoring average has jumped to 18.1 points per game.
Scholl said Binghamton’s trouble with Kurowski in its first game came as a result of how the team chose to defend her.
“We were just trying to defend her one-on-one as opposed to team defending her, and I think [the team defensive aspect] is going to be a bigger focus for us,” she said. “UMBC runs such a different style of offense that you don’t see very often and they’re very good at it, so if we can team defend them I think we’re going to be much better off.”
The Retrievers are the winners of four straight games. On Wednesday, junior Erin Brown led them to a 59-53 come-from-behind win at Albany with 19 points, 16 of which came in the second half. She then scored a game-high 18 points in the Sunday win over Stony Brook.
Her efforts last week earned her America East Player of the Week honors.
Binghamton is coming off a healthy 27-point win over Maine on Saturday. The Bearcats are 5-1 since their visit to UMBC, the only blemish of the five-point loss to first-place Boston University last week.
O’Reilly described the early January defeat at the hands of UMBC as a low point of the season.
“It was a wakeup call for us,” she said. “Since that game we haven’t taken any game lightly, no matter what team and no matter what the record.”
Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Events Center.