The Binghamton women’s basketball team played even with Vermont for the majority of Saturday afternoon’s contest, but two decisive spurts by the Catamounts propelled them to a 74-48 victory over the Bearcats at Patrick Gym.
After losing by a program-worst 51 points at Albany on Feb. 19, Binghamton’s loss on Saturday marked its 12th straight defeat.
“Our kids are still playing hard,” Binghamton head coach Nicole Scholl said. “I think it’s just disheartening for them at times when teams do go on those big runs and we don’t seem to have an answer back for it.”
The Bearcats (4-23, 1-13 America East) were within two points, 26-24, with 6:40 left in the first half, but the Catamounts embarked on a 13-4 run to head into the locker room with a 39-28 advantage. Over that span, BU committed six turnovers.
For the game, the Bearcats were plagued by 27 turnovers in comparison to the Catamounts’ 13.
“If you look at the box score, turnovers were the big key,” Scholl said. “They ended up getting at least 20 more shots than we did. Again, it’s been kind of a thing for us all season, especially as of late, not taking care of the basketball.”
Binghamton remained in striking distance midway through the first half but, with 7:55 remaining, Vermont (7-20, 4-10 AE) began an 11-1 spurt over the ensuing 2:43 to put the game beyond doubt, 67-42.
Vermont’s defense managed 12 steals and converted BU’s turnovers into 22 points. While coughing up the ball has been a theme in Binghamton’s undoing over the course of this season, Scholl noted that it’s the turnovers that lead to easy transition baskets the Bearcats can’t afford if they want to avoid big runs by the opposition.
“One turnover is one thing, but then to have two or three in a row, I think it’s just a matter of recognition and having an awareness of it,” Scholl said. “We’re turning the ball over, and we’re allowing teams to come down in transition and get an easy hoop. Whereas, at least if we’re turning the ball over and we can come down and get a defensive stop, that will help us out.”
Senior guard Sam Simononis tied a game-high with 13 points to lead Vermont. Junior forward Niki Taylor and freshman guard Jordan Eisler finished with 12 points apiece, while junior forward Kayla Burchill also reached double digits with 11.
For the Bearcats, junior forward Sherae Swinson matched Simononis with 13 points, and senior guard Vaneeshia Paulk chipped in with nine points and seven rebounds.
Binghamton is slated for two more conference games this season, both of which are at home, before the AE tournament kicks off. More so than anything, Scholl says these last upcoming games are crucial for the team’s mindset heading into the postseason.
“We have to find a way to build some confidence,” Scholl said. “Right now, we kind of have a mentality of we don’t have anything to lose, so we’re just trying to go out and play as hard as we can for as long as we can.”
BU and Hartford are set to tipoff at 7 p.m. Wednesday from the Events Center.