The Binghamton women’s basketball team continued its nonconference schedule in the Great Alaska Shootout, falling to Tulsa and defeating Maryland Eastern Shore to earn third place in the tournament. On a trip that featured many players’ first times traveling by plane and a visit to see the northern lights, the Bearcats (4-2) worked to develop better chemistry in preparation for America East play.
“It’s a bucket-list item, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said BU head coach Linda Cimino. “Any time you can go away with the team and the kids can build on their chemistry and culture is a positive … this experience is gonna help us for the rest of the season.”
In its first matchup of the shootout, Binghamton played a tightly contested game against Tulsa (3-3). The contest featured poor shooting from both schools, as the Bearcats shot only 25 percent from the free-throw line and the Golden Hurricanes hit only 33.3 percent of their field goal attempts.
Senior center Alyssa James faced early foul trouble again and was therefore limited to only four minutes of playing time in the first two quarters. An exceptionally efficient first half from redshirt junior guard Jasmine Sina kept the Bearcats in a tight game during the opening two periods. Sina shot four of six from the field and buried three shots from downtown to lead BU with 11 points at the break.
While Binghamton posted a scalding 52 percent performance from the field, hitting only one of six from the charity stripe and allowing 12 offensive rebounds hurt its chance to have an edge at the half. Tulsa’s ability to generate extra possessions kept the game tied at the half, 33-33.
“As bad as we played all first half to go into halftime [with a] tied score, I thought that put us in position to win a basketball game and come out in the second half,” Cimino said. “Having Alyssa [James] on the bench hurt us defensively because they went inside and they pounded it inside, but offensively … some people stepped up, especially Jasmine [Sina, by] knocking down some shots.”
It turned out to be a tale of two halves for Sina, as both offenses sputtered in a half that featured neither team shooting above 31 percent from the field; Sina was held to one point and shot one of three from the field. James played all but one minute of the final periods, but failed to hit a shot from the field. The backcourt of senior guard Imani Watkins and sophomore guard Kai Moon carried Binghamton’s offense in the second half, combining for 17 of the team’s 22 points.
“Any time your starting center doesn’t score a field goal and your starting two-guard doesn’t score in the second half, it puts you in a tough position,” Cimino said. “We still were in the game right down to the end, and just made a couple of poor decisions with the basketball, and I think that cost us the game.”
Binghamton entered the fourth quarter with a one-point advantage and was up 55-53 with five minutes remaining, but after this point, BU’s offense came to a complete stop, failing to score in the game’s closing minutes. Five clutch points from Tulsa freshman guard Shug Dickson propelled the Golden Hurricanes to a 60-55 win.
Looking to rebound in the tournament’s third-place game, Binghamton cruised to an easy 68-51 victory against the Hawks (1-4). Binghamton jumped to an 22-7 lead in the first quarter, and the Hawks never cut the deficit to within single digits. The Bearcats immediately remedied their shooting woes, shooting 46 percent from the field and 82 percent on free throws. James bounced back in the win, showcasing her versatility by tallying 15 points, seven rebounds and five blocks. Junior forward Rebecca Carmody added 13 points and five rebounds in her fourth start of the season.
“I thought our defense was very good from the start of the game,” Cimino said. “We got a couple quick steals and converted on some easy transition layups. It was exciting that we were able to get some rebounds, get some steals and get out in transition.”
After taking third in the Great Alaska Shootout, Binghamton returned to the contiguous states but will continue its road trip when it travels to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania to face Bucknell on Wednesday. Tipoff from Sojka Pavilion is scheduled for 6 p.m.