After playing over seven minutes of scoreless defense, the Binghamton women’s basketball team defeated Hartford in a nail-biting 60-59 victory on Thursday. With 1:05 remaining, freshman guard Carly Boland drained a game-winning 3-pointer to seal the Bearcats’ first victory in three games. BU (13-15, 8-7 America East) couldn’t replicate that performance against on Sunday, falling to Maine, 62-49.
Against the Hawks (16-12, 7-8 AE), Binghamton played well in the second, outscoring 38-29 in the half. The Bearcats also out-rebounded Hartford, 40-35; this marked one of the few games this season in which BU has won the battle of the boards.
“I have never been so proud of this team; this is the first game this year that was a nail-biter and gone in our favor,” said BU head coach Linda Cimino.
Junior guard Imani Watkins scored a game-high 28 points against Hartford. Despite tallying just three points, Boland sank the biggest shot of the game — BU’s game-winning 3-pointer.
Freshman guard Kai Moon played a key role in the Bearcats’ second half success. Due to early foul trouble, Moon was missed much of the second quarter, in which BU was outscored, 22-10. Moon only took seven shots from the field, but drew three crucial fouls that led to her sinking all six free throws.
Strong defense has been a focal point for the Bearcats this season. Their ability to grab key rebounds and force turnovers late in the game propelled them to the victory over Hartford. Three of BU’s six blocked shots were provided by junior forward Alyssa James.
“Alyssa James is the best defense player in the league,” Cimino said. “Keeping her on the court was huge; she shut down their post players today, and their post player that usually scores a lot of points didn’t even want the ball.”
BU has struggled to come out on top in tight games this season, but managed to do so against the Hawks.
It was a tale of two teams however, as BU had a tough regular-season finale in Maine (16-15, 9-7 AE) shooting just 32 percent from the field. BU gathered fewer rebounds, second-chance points and points in the paint, allowing the Black Bears to lead for almost all of the game.
Watkins once again led the way with a team-high 15 points against Maine. Sophomore guard Rebecca Carmody put up 13 points but the rest of the offense could not get going against Maine’s tough defense.
This game served as a preview of BU’s first-round matchup in the AE Tournament. The outcome handed BU and Maine the fourth and fifth seeds, respectively. All games in the tournament, except the championship match, will be held at Cross Insurance Arena in Maine — where the Black Bears’ will have home court advantage.
BU’s AE Quarterfinal game is scheduled for Saturday. Tipoff is set for 2:30 p.m. from Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, Maine.