Sophomore guard Kai Moon burst onto the scene for the Binghamton women’s basketball team as a freshman. The talented point guard put up impressive numbers at Nequa Valley, where she was a four-year letter-winner, finishing second in program history with 1,279 career points. Moon’s decorated high school career and hard work allowed for her to make an almost instant impact for Binghamton.

Moon started all 30 games as a freshman, solidifying her position as part of a strong offensive core. Her consistent play throughout her freshman season earned her a spot on the America East (AE) All-Rookie Team. The Bearcats will attempt to live up to their third-place preseason selection and look to Moon for another season of consistent contribution.

“I’m really excited about this season,” Moon said. “I think the fact that we are returning our core is very exciting.”

The young point guard contributed in multiple ways to the Bearcats last season, finishing with double-digits scoring in 10 games and double-digit rebounding in one. Moon plays a distinct and important role for her squad, as she demonstrates a strong understanding of her position at point guard.

“To not have to rebuild, in a way, is something that a lot of teams in the conference don’t have the luxury of right now,” Moon said. “We know what we need to do better this season, and if I think we execute like we are supposed to do, we’ll be arguably the best team in this conference.”

BU is coming off a little bit of a rebuilding season in which it featured some success. With then-junior guard Imani Watkins, then-redshirt sophomore guard Jasmine Sina and then-junior forward Alyssa James returning, it looked like the BU women were going to have a solid season, but they went on to finish 13-17 after starting out 3-0 in-conference.

Binghamton’s season ended in the AE quarterfinal game at Maine, which won in a dominant performance, 57-40.

Luckily for BU, its four core players — James, Moon, Sina and Watkins — will be returning. Last season proved to be a learning experience for a team that now has a full season under its belt.

Moon showcased her scoring ability throughout the year, with her biggest performance coming against a strong in-conference Albany team. The freshman scored a career-high 16 points, converting a career-high five of 10 field goals, in a game that BU lost by just six points.

“I think more than anything I want a championship,” Moon said. “I think if I do what I’m supposed to do with my role on this team, other accolades will come.”

Moon is a confident young guard who values teamwork. That being said, she is well aware of her position and role within the talented starting five of Binghamton.

“We got great players on this team, I don’t have to score 20 points a game,” Moon said. “I think if I play my role, we’ll be fine.”

Moon’s recognition of her role in the Bearcats’ system can be credited to having strong verbal leaders like Watkins, James and BU head coach Linda Cimino who help her along the way. Her flawless transition from high school to Division I was made possible by effective training, coaching and leadership.

“More than anything I just want to see growth as a player; I think I grew as a person last year,” Moon added. “And I think that if I can see some maturity on the court, in certain situations, that will be enough for me.”

As a freshman, Moon helped the Bearcats against notable basketball regional powerhouses like Providence College and the University of Pennsylvania. Against UPenn, the young guard showcased her full potential, scoring six points, snagging 10 boards, recording two assists and collecting a career-high five steals in a big Bearcats win, 61-48.

This season, Moon will get another shot at UPenn, as it is just one of the talented programs that BU is scheduled to face this season. The Bearcats were also given the opportunity to participate in the GCI Great Alaska Shootout, where they are scheduled to play University of Tulsa and University of Alaska Anchorage.