After beating Roberts Wesleyan in an exhibition game, the Binghamton women’s basketball team hosted Bloomsburg on Monday night to kick off its 2022-23 season. The game stayed competitive throughout, but BU eventually ended up on top, defeating the Huskies 63-46.

“[In the first half] we weren’t playing our game,” said Binghamton head coach Bethann Shapiro Ord. “We were letting [Bloomsburg] do everything. We weren’t dictating what we wanted to do, which was what we should’ve been doing since the first quarter.”

The first moments of the game began with cold shooting on both sides. In the first quarter, BU (1-0) shot 3-13 from the field and Bloomsburg (0-1) shot 2-12. Eventually, the Bearcats began to find its groove, going on a 6-0 run after senior guard Clare Traeger sunk two free throws, forcing the Huskies to burn a timeout. Coming out of the timeout, Binghamton initiated a full-court press, resulting in two forced turnovers that resulted into quick baskets for the Bearcats. The Huskies struggled to get things going in the first, putting up only four points while shooting less than 20 percent from the field.

“We set the tone [in the first half] … but we have to do that for four quarters,” Shapiro Ord said. “It’s a process, and I think as the girls keep gelling and working hard on defense, everything will be great.”

Although up 10-4 to start the second quarter, the Huskies kept pace with the Bearcats. Despite this, BU regained control and tightened its defense, going on an 11-6 run, extending its lead to 11 points. Bloomsburg responded, however, closing out the half on an 8-0 run and cutting the deficit to just three at the break.

“When we’re attacking the basket and getting fouled, that’s good stuff,” Shapiro Ord said. “You want to get into the paint … that’s what we were talking about going into the third quarter … Every time we got into the paint we scored pretty much.”

Bloomsburg started off the third period of play strong, building off its momentum from the end of the first half. The Huskies outscored the Bearcats 9-4 in the first few minutes, taking the lead 27-25. However, they would not hold the advantage for long as Binghamton came storming back with a 21-1 run of its own, going up 46-28 at the end of the penultimate quarter.

“We didn’t let our offense dictate our defense,” Shapiro Ord said. “We definitely picked it up on defense and it really helped propel our offense. We really converted on a lot of our steals and our deflections and really pushed tempo.”

In the first minute of the final period, coming off a fast break, senior guard Cassidy Roberts scored a layup to extend the Bearcats’ lead to 20, their largest of the game. By then, the game was out of reach for the Huskies, and when the final buzzer sounded, the Bearcats came out victorious, winning their season opener 63-46.

“It’s great [to start the season with a win],” Shapiro Ord said. “It’s important because moving forward, we’ve got to continue to feel that … We’ve got a heck of a schedule coming up, and we’ve got to use this game to get better.”

Traeger led the Bearcats in scoring, with 16 points while shooting a perfect 10-for-10 from the foul line. Overall, BU capitalized on its chances at the line, putting in 19 of its 22 free throw attempts.

“The other freshmen and new people coming, they just gel really well with us,” Traeger said. “We have really good chemistry, and we’re going to keep growing … It was really good to see everyone get minutes today.”

Freshman guard Camryn Fauria and redshirt freshman guard Jadyn Weltz also provided a spark off the bench, scoring a combined 22 points.

“[Fauria] was terrific,” Shapiro Ord said. “I asked her to play a position that she doesn’t typically play, and she did her job. She played great defense. She was running the floor and she was finishing. [Weltz] did a great job as well running the show.”

Despite playing 28 minutes, senior guard Denai Bowman filled up the stat sheet both offensively and defensively. The senior contributed eight points, two assists, three steals and five blocks to the winning effort.

“[Bowman’s] obviously one of our key seniors along with [Traeger] and [Roberts],” Shapiro Ord said. “She did other things when the ball wasn’t falling and that was great.”

Binghamton’s next game is scheduled to play Army on Thursday, Nov. 10. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Dr. Bai Lee Court at the Events Center in Vestal, New York.