DURHAM, N.H. - Sarah Cartmill tallied a game-high 26 points and 13 rebounds to help Binghamton hold onto first-place in America East with a 62-56 victory over the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team Sunday afternoon at Lundholm Gymnasium.
The Bearcats won the crucial battle of the boards with UNH 52-39, including a 23-16 edge on the offensive glass, in improving to 16-4 and 7-2 in the conference, one half-game ahead of the University of Vermont. UNH, which could have pulled even with Binghamton in the standings with a win, had its five-game home winning streak snapped and dropped to 11-9, 5-4.
Freshman Geneva Livingston (Red Bank, N.J.) had a career-high 17 points for UNH while senior guard Heidi Plencner (Hampton, NH) also scored 17, including four treys. Senior Aubrey Danen (Oconomowoc, Wisc.) chipped in with 11 points while sophomore center Maren Matthias (Guilford, Conn.), out much of the first half with foul trouble, finished with seven points and a team-high 10 rebounds to go along with three blocks for the 'Cats.
With the score 9-9 in the game's opening minutes, UNH put together a 6-0 spurt to take a 15-9 lead with 11:59 remaining. Matthias, however, picked up her second foul with 10:21 to go in the first half and Binghamton took advantage, outscoring UNH 21-7 the rest of the way to take a 28-22 halftime lead. It was the first time UNH had trailed at the half at home this season.
The Bearcats extended their lead to 14, 47-33 six minutes into the second half. But UNH responded with three treys in under a minute from Plencner and full court pressure that resulted in six straight turnovers to pull to within three, 47-44 with only 10:42 remaining. Binghamton responded with two free throws from Cartmill and five straight points from Portsmouth (N.H.) alum Andrea Herold to push the advantage back to 10, 54-44. UNH's offensive charge dwindled from there.
UNH lost for just the third time at home this season and for the first time in league play. The 'Cats hit the road for three straight games, beginning Wednesday night (2/6) at Vermont. followed by games at Boston University (2/9) and Stony Brook (2/12). The Wildcats don't return home until Feb. 19 when they take on Maine at the Whittemore Center .