VESTAL, N.Y. – The University of New Hampshire women’s basketball team battled back from a 16-point deficit, but could not get the win as the team fell to Binghamton University, 82-74, Saturday evening at the Events Center. Freshman Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) notched her second double-double of the season with 18 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Sophomore guard Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) posted 19 points to lead the Wildcats in scoring for the third consecutive game.
With the loss, the Wildcats fall to 3-12 and remain winless in the America East, 0-3. The Bearcats improve to 5-11, 3-0 in the conference.
Binghamton got out to an early 5-0 lead to start the game, but Beliveau hit a jumper to even the score 5-5 at 17:35. The Bearcats pulled ahead once again and led by as many as 14 points in the first half, 29-15, with 4:42 remaining. The Wildcats went on an 11-2 run, cutting the lead to just five points, 31-26, with 2:25 to play in the opening frame. The run included 3-pointers by Ashley Cerniglia (Pittsford, N.Y.), Simpson and Beliveau. New Hampshire, held Binghamton scoreless for one minute and 23 seconds to close out the half, and trailed by just five, 36-21, at the break. At the half, Beliveau was already just two boards away from her double-double with 10 points and eight rebounds. Cerniglia hit three 3-pointers in the first half for nine points and finished the game with 17 for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats continued their comeback in the second half, holding the Bearcats from scoring for the first two minutes and forty seconds to open up the second half. At 17:06, sophomore forward Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) tied the score, 38-38, on old-fashioned three-point play. On their next possession, Beliveau mirrored Williams’ play to give the Wildcats their first lead of the game, 41-38, with 15:58 remaining. New Hampshire’s 8-0 run gave the visiting team a five-point lead, 43-38, with 14:52 left to play.
Binghamton’s Laura Sario drained back-to-back 3-pointers to put the Bearcats back on top, 44-43, with 13:52 remaining. Led by a 14-point second half effort by Laine Kurpniece, Binghamton went on a 33-6 run to lead by 16 points, 65-49, with 7:37 to play. Sario finished the game with a team-high 20 points, while Kurpniece had 16 for the Bearcats.
The Wildcats, battled back once again, getting as close as seven points, 81-74, on another three point play for Beliveau, but with just 18 seconds left the Bearcats were able to hold on to the lead and the win.
Freshman center Kathryn Early (Corning, N.Y.) notched a career-high seven points to go along with three rebounds in eight minutes action. New Hampshire outrebounded its opponent 37-33.
The Wildcats return to action Wednesday, Jan. 23 when they travel to Vermont to face the Catamounts. Tip off at Patrick Gymnasium is scheduled for 7 p.m.