A little over a week ago, the Binghamton women’s basketball team were 4-2 entering a match against Bucknell, the defending Patriot League conference champion. The Bearcats lost that game despite pulling within two points with 37 seconds remaining. In their next game against Yale, with the Bearcats down by six, senior guard Imani Watkins forced the game into overtime, capping off a 6-0 stretch with 12 seconds left. Once again, the effort was not enough as the team fell, 73-69. Now the Bearcats, at 4-4, hope to return to the win column in tonight’s away game against Bryant. Despite back-to-back losses, the Bearcats are confident they can win.
“I think pound-for-pound, we have a better team,” Watkins said. “I think that everybody just has to come to play, and I think if we all do our jobs and come prepared that we’ll win.”
BU statistically leads the Bulldogs (1-7) in all major categories: scoring offense and defense, rebounding, assists, blocks and steals. Sophomore guard Kai Moon believes that if the team gives its full effort, it should be able to pull off the win.
“[It is essential to] play good, hard-nosed basketball for a full 40 minutes,” Moon said. “Because I think oftentimes when we lose, it’s mental lapses that we’ll have.”
The Bearcats have faced a few mental lapses recently, especially concerning foul shooting. Against Yale, they converted just seven of 17 free throws, or 41 percent, compared to Yale’s 13-for-16 performance, or 81 percent. Both Watkins and Moon said the team understands it needs to shoot free throws better. Monday’s entire practice was dedicated to free throws to up their game.
“We understand our record would be a lot different if we made our free throws and those little things win games,” Watkins said.
Moon also confessed her contribution to the teams’ losses. She shot 1-6 from the field, scoring three points against Yale after leading the team in scoring with 23 points against Bucknell.
“I think mentally I kind of took myself out of the game in the second half,” Moon said.
However, the Bearcats are not shying away from these losses or letting them break their spirit. Instead, they are looking back at game film and finding ways to improve.
“You have to understand that it’s never really a loss — it’s a lesson,” Watkins said. “While it goes on the record as a loss, every game should be a lesson and I think we take those [losses] and we learn from them and we try to implement them in the next game.”
Moon and Watkins are still very confident in the team’s talent despite its recent slide.
“I think we have a really good team. I think we have something special,” Watkins said. “Our offense is gonna come. We have a pretty solid offensive game. I just think we have to defend better and win the rebounding battle and get to the line.”
Moon looked to the team’s fight and spirit for optimism. Down six points to Yale with under a minute remaining in regulation, Binghamton showed resiliency in its effort to force overtime on Saturday.
“We came back from being down quite a few points to send the game into overtime,” Moon said. “And I know [BU head coach Linda Cimino] is really happy and pleased with our effort we gave. Our effort, I think, has always been there.”
Now the Bearcats will have to tap into that fight and passion to defeat the Bulldogs Thursday night. Tipoff from Chace Athletic Center in Smithfield, Rhode Island is scheduled for 7 p.m.