DURHAM, N.H. – Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) scored a team-high 11 points but it was not enough, as the University of New Hampshire fell to Binghamton University at the buzzer, 56-53, on Wednesday night at Lundholm Gymnasium.
With the loss the Wildcats fall to 8-21, including 6-9 in the America East, while the Bearcats improve to 13-15, 8-7 in the conference.
Williams, the America East Player of the Game for the Wildcats, also pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. Abigail LaRosa (Hampton, N.H.) finished with 10 points, while Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) dished out 11 assists to tie her career high.
With six seconds remaining in the game, LaRosa hit a 3-pointer for the Wildcats, who were down entire second half, to even the score at 53. Andrea Holmes, however, rushed the ball up the court and from under the basket dished the ball to Jackie Ward, who drained a trey at the buzzer to give Binghamton the win.
The Bearcats, who closed out the first half on a 9-0 run, started out right where they left off in the second as the opened up with a 6-1 run. Binghamton drew first blood in the stanza as Viive Rebane knocked down a jumper to spark the run which gave the Bearcats their largest lead of the game, 32-24, with just over 15 minutes remaining.
Over the next five minutes, the Wildcats chipped away at the deficit and with 10:43 remaining, Racheal Fowler (Glassboro, N.J.) connected on a layup to cut the deficit in half, 41-36. Fowler also hit a jumper on the Wildcats next possession, which was sandwiched by a Franceski layup, to make it 43-35 with 10:24 to play.
Erica Carter hit a trifecta to give the Bearcats an eight-point advantage, 46-38, with 8:42 remaining in the game. The Wildcats, however, would then go on an 8-0 run to make it a one-point game, 47-46, with 5:18 left.
The Bearcats hit four free throws to pull ahead by five, 51-46, with just under four minutes to go, but Williams drained two free throws of her own to make it a one-possession game, 51-48, with 3:35 remaining.
Both teams would go scoreless for just under three minutes, but with 39 seconds to play, Holmes hit a jumper to make it a two-possession game, 53-48. With less than 30 seconds remaining, Simpson threaded the ball inside to Fowler, who hit a jumper in the paint to make it 53-50. Fowler finished the game with eight points for the Wildcats, all of which came during the final 12 minutes of action.
New Hampshire quickly fouled and after Williams pulled down the rebound on Holmes’ missed free throw on the front end of a one-and-one, the Wildcats pushed the ball up the court with hopes of evening the score.
Simpson swung the ball from the top of the key to LaRosa, who drained the trey with six ticks left on the clock to knot the score, 53-53.
Holmes rushed the ball up the court, eluding Wildcat defenders, and as she penetrated into the paint she found a wide-open Ward in front of the Bearcats bench, who she threw it out to for the game-winning shot. Holmes finished the game with nine points, five rebounds and seven assists.
The first half of action featured a close battle between both squads, with Binghamton off to the quick 4-0 start. Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.) got the scoring started for the Wildcats with jumper just inside the free throw line. Williams evened the score, 4-4, with 14:15 to play in the half, but the visitors regained the lead on the next possession with a 3-pointer by Muffy Sadler.
With the score 11-8 with 11:24 to play, Williams evened the score once again as she converted on the hoop and the harm to make it 11-11. The play would spark an 8-0 Wildcat run which gave New Hampshire its largest lead of the half, 18-11, following a Chrissy Hall (Northbridge, Mass.) 3-pointer with just under nine minutes to go. Hall finished the game with seven points for New Hampshire.
Following the run, the Bearcats and Wildcats would trade baskets with one another until LaRosa drained a trey to put the Wildcats up by five, 23-18, with 4:43 remaining in the opening frame. Less than a minute later, Viive Rebane responded with a jumper, which sparked a 9-0 run to give the visitors the 27-23 advantage heading into the half.
Jill McDonald (Middlebury Union, Vt.) matched her career high as she thwarted away four blocks, all of which came in the opening stanza. She also posted six points and five rebounds in the game for the Wildcats.
Laura Franceski, the America East Player of the Game for the Bearcats, posted a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds to go along with two blocks.
The Wildcats return to action on Saturday, March 7, when they wrap up the regular season at Hartford at 2 p.m.