The Binghamton women’s basketball team took to the court on Wednesday night in an effort to end its three-game losing streak. The visiting Vermont squad sat at the No. 2 spot in the America East (AE) standings entering the contest, and looked to move up in the rankings. The hosts, however, battled in their penultimate regular season matchup but ultimately fell, 67-54.
“[We] learned that we just have to be ready every game, and everyone’s gotta stay ready,” said Binghamton head coach Bethann Shapiro Ord. “We wanna finish [the season] really strong and [Vermont] is a tough team. To keep battling — I’m proud of them — they battled. We got a long trip ahead of us to go to Maine. We always wanna end on a positive note, so we wanna get some momentum, so it’s gotta be with Maine.”
Neither side was able to convert in the first minute of action until BU (13-15, 6-9 AE) got on the board first after a layup from senior guard Denai Bowman. Although Vermont (21-6, 13-2 AE) did not respond until over a minute later, its response came strong as it built up a 13-2 run in the first five minutes. Redshirt freshman Ella Wanzer snapped the Catamounts’ scoring spree with her own basket, but the offense soon slowed for both sides. Neither team made a basket over the next three minutes until a UVM 3-pointer followed by a response from Wanzer ended the quarter with the visitors ahead 18-12.
“[Vermont] did a really good job of sagging in,” Shapiro Ord said. “When we move the ball and attack them and really shifted the defense, that’s when we were able to get some good points and some good opportunities. We played into their hands of not doing that, and that’s why they were able to crowd and keep it in.”
Both sides traded baskets to begin the second period, but a short run put Vermont up double-digits at 25-14. A quick five-point swing from the Bearcats got them back to within six, but another 3-pointer from the traveling squad kept the hosts at bay. Then with three minutes remaining in the half, BU found itself down seven points. Binghamton went scoreless to end the second quarter and the Catamounts piled on seven more points as they entered the break leading 37-23.
“Some of the keys were [that] we didn’t wanna get sped up with our offense because [Vermont does] really well in transition and getting it going,” Shapiro Ord said. “For them, we don’t wanna speed up the game. That’s a really good team that just beat us, and there’s a reason they’re number two. They could be number one in our league.”
As the second half of play opened up Vermont’s offensive flurry continued as it began the third quarter on a 10-6 run. The Bearcats’ scoring struggles continued as they trailed by 18 with just three minutes remaining in the period. Bowman, however, converted on three consecutive baskets, including completing an and-one, to keep the Bearcats in the game. BU would enter the final frame trailing 51-38.
At the start of the fourth quarter, the Bearcats scored at a slight advantage as they cut their deficit to just nine at the period’s five-minute mark. The hosts’ defense prevailed during this span, holding Vermont to just one made basket as they closed in on the lead. Despite this, the Catamounts did not relent as they added to their total and maintained their advantage. The Bearcats’ late-game comeback was not enough as it soon fell to UVM 67-54.
“In the first half, we weren’t getting a lot of stops,” Shapiro Ord said. “We were kinda going back and forth a little bit, and that’s hard. In the second half, I thought we did a much better job of stringing up some stops, and that’s when we made our little run which came close. We were attacking, and we got to the free throw line in the fourth quarter and were able to stop them a little bit.”
Binghamton will face Maine in its final regular season game on Saturday, Feb. 25. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. at “The Pit” in Memorial Gymnasium in Orono, Maine.