WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Sophomore guard Cari Reed (Oswego, N.Y.) scored 10 of her team-leading 13 points in the second half, helping the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team cut a 21-point deficit to six, but Binghamton University held on to defeat the Wildcats, 67-53, in the quarterfinals of the America East Championship presented by Newman's Own at Chase Family Arena on Friday afternoon.
Sixth-seeded New Hampshire, despite the valiant comeback, ends its season with a record of 9-20, while third-seeded Binghamton advances to the conference semifinals with a mark of 19-11. The Bearcats will meet No. 2 Boston University in the America East semifinals Sunday morning.
Trailing 53-32 with about nine minutes remaining, the Wildcats went on an 18-3 run to cut the Bearcats' lead to 56-50 with just under four minutes left in the game. Reed tallied nine of the 18 points during the run, finishing the contest 5-of-12 from the floor, while also adding four rebounds.
Four other Wildcats scored seven points apiece: Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass., 7 points, 8 rebounds), Kelsey Hogan (Nashua, N.H., 7 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist), Abigail LaRosa (Hampton, N.H., 7 points, 4 rebounds) and Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt., 7 points, 4 rebounds).
Viive Rebane paced Binghamton with a game-high 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting, while Jasbriell Swain chipped in with 14 points (5-of-9) and nine rebounds and Oria O'Reilly just missed a double-double with nine points and a game-high 10 boards.
Binghamton controlled the majority of the action in the opening half, leading by as many as 14 points before settling for a 28-16 lead at the intermission. Rebane scored 10 points in the stanza on 5-of-8 shooting, and the Bearcats' defense held the Wildcats to 27 percent shooting (6-of-22), including just 1-for-10 from 3-point territory. McDonald was New Hampshire's lone player with more than one field goal in the half, connecting on 2-of-5 attempts for four points.
The Bearcats kept up their hot shooting in the second frame, opening up the action with a 13-5 scoring run, until the Wildcats struck back with an 11-3 scoring spurt that cut the score to 44-32 with 12:35 remaining. Sarah-Marie Frankenberger (Gross Gerau, Germany) ignited the run with a layup, but it was Abigail LaRosa (Hampton, N.H.) that drilled a pair of threes to cap off the stretch, cutting the deficit down to 12.
Following UNH's scoring outburst, Binghamton pieced together nine unanswered points, building its lead to its highest margin of the contest as the Bearcats pushed ahead 53-32 with just under nine minutes remaining.
After being held scoreless for nearly four minutes, McDonald ended the scoring rut, netting three points the old-fashioned-way, as the 'Cats posted five unanswered points. New Hampshire wasn't done just yet, as the 5-0 scoring spurt set up an 18-3 run by the Wildcats that cut the deficit down to six with just over three minutes on the clock.
Midway through the stretch, Reed and Kate Early (Corning, N.Y.) tallied layups on back-to-back possessions, slicing the score to 54-41 at 7:01. Reed fueled the Wildcats the rest of the way, pouring in seven of UNH's last nine points during the stretch, helping set the score to 56-50 with 3:32 remaining.