On Wednesday night, the Binghamton women’s basketball team returned home for a matchup against Pittsburgh at Johnstown after suffering its first loss of the season against Syracuse on Monday. BU started the game hot, grabbing an early lead and never giving it up, downing the Mountain Cats 71-45.
“We did battle the other night [against Syracuse],” said Binghamton head coach Bethann Shapiro Ord. “But we didn’t look back, we focused forward and we did what we had to do to get the win tonight and I’m proud.”
The Bearcats (3-1) started the first quarter on a 6-0 run, holding Pittsburgh (3-0) scoreless for the first four minutes of action. Although the Mountain Cats would halt the run with a 3-pointer and score nine points in the period, BU refused to let up. The hosts exited the quarter with a double-digit lead at 19-9.
“When we were sharing the basketball, running the floor and attacking the basket, we did a really good job,” Shapiro Ord said. “Most of our paint touches was where we were really successful. When we got in the paint and we attacked … good things happen.”
Despite Binghamton’s lead, Pittsburgh remained in the game, cutting its deficit in half less than three minutes into the second period. The Bearcats gave up two early baskets and were outscored for the majority of the frame as they shot 27.3 percent from the field while the Mountain Cats added to their total. Additionally, the home team turned the ball over 13 times in the first half. Despite being outscored in the frame 12-10, BU closed out the half with the lead, entering the break up 29-21.
“[At halftime] I think what they realized was that it’s up to them,” Shapiro Ord said. “We had too many turnovers for the game, but in the first half we had quite a few that were unforced. We just need to take care of the ball and take care of the things that we control.”
Both teams entered the second half exchanging baskets, each hitting a 3-pointer and putting up seven points early in the quarter. Despite the Mountain Cats keeping pace with Binghamton, the home team began to pull away after a layup from sophomore forward Genevieve Coleman. The sophomore scored 11 of the Bearcats’ 24 points in the penultimate quarter. Senior guard Clare Traeger also added to Binghamton’s total, scoring two straight baskets, one off of an offensive rebound and the other from a steal.
“We were just moving the ball really well,” Coleman said. “I felt like our flow and my connection between me and all my teammates was really good tonight”
The final period began with BU leading 53-34. This advantage would only grow, however, as the hosts added six unanswered points to take a 25 point lead. After Pittsburgh finally put up a basket in the quarter, senior guard Denai Bowman immediately responded with an and-one layup. With the Bearcats leading by 28 points with seven minutes of action left, the Mountain Cats did not have enough time to claw their way back.
“It’s always great to win,” Shapiro Ord said. “I love to win. All the confidence and seeing all their hard work come to fruition with these wins is great.”
Coleman scored a collegiate career-high 20 points, leading the game in scoring. Traeger notched herself another double-digit rebound game with 19, a career-high as well. Bowman was the only other double-digit scorer for BU. The senior put up 12 points and added two blocks and one steal to her stat sheet.
“[Coleman] is in the paint, so she was getting some really good looks,” Shapiro Ord said. “Getting her the ball and working hard … [Traeger] is just beast mode all the time when it comes to rebounding, and she’s one of those kids that is not gonna give up.”
Binghamton will play its next game on Saturday, Nov. 19 when it travels to Canisius. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. at the Koessler Athletic Center in Buffalo, New York.