Sophomore guard Rebecca Carmody sat on the bench as a team assistant tended to her skinned elbow, but her gaze remained focused on the action unfolding before her. Two minutes later, she was back on the floor, driving to the basket, sinking a layup and drawing a foul. Despite the career-high 18 points Carmody scored on Sunday afternoon, the Binghamton women’s basketball team fell to first-place New Hampshire, 76-69.
With 6:35 remaining, Carmody nailed two free throws to cut the Bearcats’ deficit to just five points. She sunk all six of her free throw attempts and went 6-for-14 from the field, keeping BU (12-14, 7-6 America East) in the game against the first-place Wildcats (21-4, 11-1 AE).
“[Carmody] used her athleticism to get by her defender,” said BU head coach Linda Cimino. “Her advantage is that she can get by people and she was able to do that today, and she finished at the rim, which was great.”
In the third quarter, the Bearcats found themselves in a 15-point hole, thanks to the stellar play of junior center Carlie Pogue, who also had a career game, draining 32 points for the Wildcats at Lundholm Gymnasium.
“Carlie [Pogue] just had a monster game; she was able to finish and we got the ball inside to her,” said UNH head coach Maureen Magarity.
According to Cimino, the Bearcats were unable to execute their plan to stifle Pogue, who has reached double-digit scoring in all but one conference game this season.
“[Pogue] made some tough shots,” Cimino said. “Our game plan was to provide really good ball pressure so they had harder post entries, but we were unable to follow through with that.”
Although the loss marks BU’s second loss to New Hampshire this season, the Bearcats scored 69 points against the Wildcats — whose opponents have averaged only 62 this season.
“We know we can play with the best; we played New Hampshire well both times we played them,” Cimino said.
BU’s offensive success was due largely to its ability to execute ball screens at the top of the key and Carmody’s ability to drive to the basket.
The Bearcats, who have been consistently outscored in the fourth quarter this season, made the final 10 minutes of this game their best. They recorded 19 points to the Wildcats’ 16 and came close to tying it up.
“We made shots [in the fourth quarter],” Cimino said. “We were able to get some steals and we were able to come down and convert on their turnovers.”
BU committed eight fewer turnovers than New Hampshire and scored 20 points off turnovers.
With the loss, BU drops to fifth place in the AE with three conference games remaining. Earlier this season, they were tied for the second spot.
“We’ve got a couple of days rest now, which is going to help us,” Cimino said. “We’ve got to put ourselves in a position to be successful in the playoffs and going forward.”
The Bearcats have a week off before they are set to return to the court on Saturday against Stony Brook. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. from the Events Center in Vestal, New York.