Coming off a loss at home against Maine on Saturday, the Binghamton women’s basketball team traveled to Stony Brook on Monday eager to capture a victory. The Bearcats (16-8, 7-4 America East) were led by senior guard Imani Watkins’ offensive prowess in a 69-64 win over the Seawolves (13-11, 5-6 AE).
The showdown started off with a tone-setting 3-point shot from Watkins, who left the game just five points shy of 2,000 career points. She broke Binghamton’s program record for career 3-point field goal with a total of 226.
“[Watkins] is a special player and today she did it on both ends,” said BU head coach Linda Cimino. “She really defended very well today, and it may not have shown up in the box score, but she did a good job. I’m really proud of her, I know she beat the all-time 3-point record for the school today and [is] closing in on 2,000. Her No. 1 goal this year is to win a championship, and those individual accolades will come with some team success.”
The first half featured strong play from both sides of the court. BU surrendered the advantage to the Seawolves only once, but Stony Brook kept itself within only a few points of the Bearcats’ squad. Toward the end of the first half, Binghamton was able to pull away somewhat, ending the second quarter with a nine-point advantage and leading the Seawolves 34-25 at halftime.
“I think against this team it’s important to get stops,” Cimino said. “You have to convert, not even turnovers, but just defensive stops in the points because last time we got killed on the boards and it just took us out of our rhythm … So we got stops and we got points and it really opened up a lot of things for us. We had a pretty comfortable lead going into halftime.”
In the third quarter, the Bearcats added to their lead with solid defensive play, maintaining a double-digit point margin for the majority of the quarter.
Toward the end of the fourth quarter, as regulation play was drawing to a close, the Seawolves looked to make up the difference. They were able to get within four points of Binghamton, but with four converted free throws from Watkins, the Bearcats verified their position as the winner.
Watkins was Binghamton’s top scorer in Monday night’s game, with 25 points, while sophomore guard Kai Moon trailed behind her with 17 points. Both of the players’ offensive capabilities and efficient 3-point shooting helped keep BU in control for most of the game.
“Kai Moon is tough. She’s a tough player and she most certainly played tough today and knocked down some huge free throws for us,” Cimino said.
The Bearcats are scheduled for a rematch against UMBC, a team they beat previously, 81-51.
“[UMBC] is going to be tough,” Cimino said. “They’re going to look for revenge against us and we know it’s coming and we’ve got to defend if we want to win.”
Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday night from the UMBC Event Center in Baltimore, Maryland.