Jonathan Flores/Pipe Dream Photographer Senior guard Imani Watkins led Binghamton in scoring on Monday, tallying 18 points and three 3-pointers in a loss to Albany

Coming off a 64-59 America East (AE) Conference win over first-place Hartford, the Binghamton women’s basketball team was looking to jump past Albany in the conference standings and take control of third place. Instead, the Bearcats (11-6, 2-2 AE) dropped their matchup against the Great Danes (15-3, 4-1 AE), falling 63-46 and dropping to sixth place.

The game was tightly contested heading into the midpoint of the second quarter, with both teams exchanging leads frequently. Then, the Great Danes pulled ahead to a 19-18 edge following a jump shot by senior forward Tiana-Jo Carter. The Bearcats threatened to come back several times, but never regained the advantage. Albany managed a double-digit victory despite low playing time for several key players.

Carter, freshman guard CeCe Mayo and junior forward Heather Forster all had three personal fouls early in the game and were forced to sit. The Albany bench picked up the slack, however, accounting for 26 of Albany’s total points for the day.

“Their bench stepped up,” said BU head coach Linda Cimino. “They had kids come in off the bench and have probably career highs. We can’t allow that.”

Turnovers were also a big problem for the Bearcats. They coughed the ball up 23 times, resulting in 28 Albany points. Cimino pointed to those turnovers as a key reason for the defeat. Despite its poor ball security, BU seemed on the edge of a comeback at multiple instances throughout the game. In the fourth quarter, it was able to claw back to a six-point deficit.

One reason the team could not pull off the comeback, according to Cimino, was free-throw shooting. The Bearcats have had previous trouble shooting free throws this season and missed 11 shots from the charity stripe against the Great Danes.

“We didn’t capitalize today when we got to the free-throw line,” Cimino said. “You know, when you make your free throws, it chips the lead away.”

The Bearcats also shot poorly from the field. Senior guard Imani Watkins, who ranks first in the AE and 14th in the nation in points per game with 21.4 points per game, shot only six of 17 from the field and three of eight from the foul line. However, even on an off day, Watkins managed 18 points and shot 37.5 percent from the 3-point line.

Sophomore guard Kai Moon put forth an efficient scoring effort, logging 14 points, seven of which came from the line, while shooting 50 percent from the field and 3-point range. Moon and Watkins combined for 32 of Binghamton’s 46 points, as only five Binghamton players scored against the Great Danes.

The Bearcats historically have had a lot of trouble against Albany, dropping its last 16 games against the Great Danes. While Cimino conceded Albany was the better team Monday, she did not believe Albany has any specific advantage over Binghamton.

“They’ve got a couple of kids who can really shoot the ball and they did a good job getting the ball inside today,” Cimino said.

Even with the loss, Cimino is not concerned for the team’s future, nor is she worried about working on any particular kinks in practice.

“I think we just need a little bit of rest and we need to group and then we’ll get right back at it on Thursday,” Cimino said.

The Bearcats are set to face Stony Brook on Thursday. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m. from the Events Center in Vestal, New York.