With a last-minute postponement due to a snowstorm, the Binghamton women’s basketball traveled to Buffalo, New York to take on Canisius on Sunday. After hitting two free throws with six seconds left in the game, senior guard Denai Bowman sealed the 75-72 victory, blocking the Griffs’ last-second attempt.
“I was so proud of the way they kept their composure at the end of the game,” said Binghamton head coach Bethann Shapiro Ord. “Our defense really did a tremendous job of getting stops at the end when we really needed it to win the game, so that was huge.”
Both teams struggled to score to start the game. However, redshirt freshman guard Ella Wanzer scored BU’s (4-1) first eight points, including two three-pointers, which gave the Bearcats an early 8-2 lead. This did not last, however, as Canisius (1-2) put together a 7-0 run to take the lead. For the rest of the quarter, both teams traded baskets and at the end of the period the score was tied at 15.
“[Wanzer] was tremendous,” Shapiro Ord said. “I knew she was gonna have a great shooting game because her family was there, and she grew up going to camps and stuff there. She’s been in that gym a lot as a kid … I knew her shot was going down.”
The second quarter saw a higher offensive output from both sides. Senior guard Clare Traeger tallied five points in a row as BU went up 31-24. Canisius responded promptly with an 8-0 run to regain its lead. After Wanzer regained the lead with a fast-break three-pointer — and less than a minute before halftime — Bowman sized up a Golden Griffin defender with a crossover dribble followed by a step back. As the defender stumbled back, Bowman rose up and hit the mid-range jump shot and the Bearcats headed into the break up 36-34.
“We were getting up and down in transition,” Shapiro Ord said. “We had a lot of fast-breaks. It was an up-tempo game for sure and a lot of lead changes, but that was the biggest thing, being up-tempo.”
Coming out of halftime, both teams began to apply pressure offensively, scoring 25 points each in the penultimate frame. The Griffs capitalized on their second chances, scoring eight points off of second chance opportunities in the period.
“Just keeping our composure like we have, that’s something great to build on,” Shapiro Ord said. “We need to continue to just not allow anybody else to have second chance opportunities, which we gave [Canisius]. They had 12 points off of second chance opportunities.”
The fourth quarter was more defensive-minded, as the Bearcats and Griffs scored 14 and 13 points, respectively. The back-and-forth nature of the game was prevalent as there were 16 lead changes throughout. As the game drew to a close, BU was able to edge out Canisius — courtesy of Bowman who scored the team’s last five points. Additionally, she registered the game-winning block on Canisius’ final possession to secure the 75-72 win for BU.
“Winning on the road like this is huge,” Shapiro Ord said. “It might’ve been ugly at times, but guess what, we got the W … If we didn’t miss a few layups and turned it over a little bit, it would’ve been a different game.”
Four separate Bearcats scored in double figures. Wanzer led the way with 19, shooting 5-for-8 from three-point range, Bowman had 16, Traeger had 12 and sophomore forward Genevieve Coleman finished with 10. Traeger had 10 rebounds as well, earning her second double-double of the season. The senior is averaging a career-high 10.8 rebounds per game. Redshirt freshman guard Jadyn Weltz dished out six assists.
“Clare Traeger did great again, having a double-double,” Shapiro Ord said. “She’s still a beast on the boards.”
BU will return to action on Friday, Nov. 25 to compete in the Florida Atlantic Thanksgiving Tournament with its first game against FAU. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. at the Abessinio Court at FAU Arena in Boca Raton, Florida.