Coming off two straight losses after riding a three-game winning streak, Maine looked to end the regular season on a high note against a team they lost 58-52 to back on Saturday, January 28. The Black Bears took advantage of the Bearcats’ sloppy play and claimed a win on Senior Day, 62-49. Maine improved to 16-15 on the season, while Binghamton dropped to 13-16.
The first points of the game came 2:08 in when redshirt second-year guard Tanesha Sutton converted a layup and the scoreboard wouldn’t see another move until about four minutes later when first-year forward Laia Sole made a jumper.
Fourth-year guard Sigi Koizar made the next two shots to increase Maine’s early lead to 8-0 and Binghamton didn’t score until 2:29 was left when second-year guard Rebecca Carmody made a layup. The Bearcats got three points by free throws before the quarter ended, as first-year guard Kai Moon had two and third-year forward Alyssa James had one. After the first, Maine led 8-5.
Binghamton produced a 10-0 run that started in the first when James made a layup and Moon added a three-pointer to go up momentarily 10-8. Maine would go on a 12-0 run of their own as three players contributed, including Sutton with six points and Koizar and first-year guard Blanca Millan with three each.
“We got off to a good start and finished the way we wanted. I can’t believe that these last four years have gone by so fast, and I hope that we can extend the season in the playoffs,” Koizar said.
The Bearcats tried to come back again when third-year guard Imani Watkins made a three-pointer, which was one of two she made in the quarter. The Black Bears kept putting the ball through the net unlike the opening period and saw a lead as big as 14.
Sutton led the quarter in scoring with eight points, Koizar followed with seven, Millan and first-year guard Julie Brosseau had three a piece and first-year guard Naira Caceres had two. Those to score for Binghamton were Watkins with six, Moon with three, James with two and Carmody with one. At halftime, Maine led comfortably, 31-17.
The third quarter began with the game’s leading scorer in Sutton by making a jumper, which was followed by Carmody with a three-pointer. James scored the next three points before first-year forward Fanny Wadling scored four straight for Maine, which were her first points of the contest.
First-year guard Carly Boland hit a deep range shot to trim the deficit back to 11 points and it wasn’t for another four minutes of game time that points would be scored when James made a layup.
Both teams traded some free throws, Sutton and Watkins each made a layup at the end of the quarter and Binghamton was still trying to climb back from a nine-point deficit. Other players to score in the quarter were Caceres and Moon with two each and Koizar with one. After three, Maine led 42-33.
The Bearcats continued to cut away at the deficit when Watkins made a jumper and Carmody made a layup to start the final quarter and they got it down to four points when Carmody hit a three-pointer to bring the score to 44-40.
“We gave ourselves a chance when we got it down to a four-point margin, but they took every opportunity to get into the paint and made them count when they needed to,” Carmody said.
Maine had other ideas in mind when Koizar hit a three-pointer and Sole made a layup to bring their lead back to nine. After Carmody converted a layup, third-year forward Kirsten Johnson scored her first points of the game with a layup of her own and Millan made a three-pointer to increase their lead to 12.
The Black Bears were in control the rest of the way and saw an appreciative moment when fourth-year forward Sheraton Jones made a layup in her last regular season game as a senior. Players to score the remainder of the points in the quarter were Koizar with five, Johnson and Sutton with four each and Millan with three. For Binghamton, Watkins and Carmody each had seven points and Boland had two.
“I love these girls, and I’ll never forget the great times we’ve had over the last four years. Hopefully we can carry some of this momentum into the playoffs and make a run,” Jones said.
Leading scorers of the game were Sutton with 18, followed by Koizar with 17, Watkins with 15 and Carmody with 13 in Maine’s 62-49 victory. The Black Bear seniors, Koizar and Jones, celebrate their final regular season game by capping it off with a win.
“They played us well on both ends of the court and established a rhythm in their passing game. We came close at times, but we couldn’t get that extra push that we wanted,” Binghamton Head Coach Linda Cimino said.
Maine and Binghamton University hold the fourth and fifth seeds respectively and square off in the America East Quarterfinal round that will be held in Portland, Maine on Saturday, March 4 at 2:30 p.m.