DURHAM, N.H. – Sophomore guard Elizabeth Belanger (Acton, Mass.) tallied a team-high 16 points and seven rebounds, powering the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team to a 72-53 victory over the Binghamton University Bearcats at Lundholm Gymnasium in its annual Play 4Kay game Sunday afternoon.
New Hampshire won its third game in a row and upped its record to 13-8 overall and 7-1 in America East. Binghamton dropped its seventh-straight decision and falls to 4-18, 1-8. The Wildcats defeat the Bearcats at home for the first time since Jan. 17, 2007. UNH is riding their best 10-game record (9-1) since January 3 to February 11, 1993.
Accompanied by Belanger's 16 points and a career-high five assists, freshman guard Kristen Anderson (Greene, Maine) notched 14 points off the bench for UNH. Sophomore forward Corinne Coia (North Smithfield, R.I.) registered 13 points. Senior guard Kelsey Hogan (Nashua, N.H.) also reached double figures in scoring with 10 points and dished out six helpers.
The Bearcats were led by sophomore forward Morgan Murphy with a game-high 19 points. Junior forward Sherae Swinson was just one rebound shy of a double-double, recording 17 points and nine boards.
New Hampshire shot 28 of 56 (50 percent) from the field and was 8 of 19 (42.1 percent) from 3-point range. Binghamton drained 20 of 51 (39.2 percent) attempts from the floor. However, the Bearcats were held to just 3 of 16 (18.8 percent) from beyond the arc. New Hampshire held Binghamton to just six assists, a season-best for the Wildcats.
Murphy opened the scoring in the game for the Bearcats on a layup. The Wildcats kept pace as the Bearcats held a 6-5 edge at the 17:00 mark.
UNH took its first lead of the match on a 9-0 run fueled by field goals from Belanger, Coia and Hogan. In spite of the run, the Bearcats stormed back to cut the lead down to three at 14-11 with 12:48 remaining in the first half.
Anderson sparked a 10-2 run for the 'Cats with a pair of treys to stretch the lead to 22-11. UNH preserved its 11-point cushion at 28-17 with 6:10 to go in the opening frame.
Binghamton's defense clamped down on the 'Cats offense to hold UNH to just one free throw over for the remainder of the first half. The Bearcats offense used the New Hampshire scoring drought to recapture the lead on a 13-1 run to retake the lead, 30-29, entering halftime.
The Bearcats continued their run into the second half as Murphy tallied the first three points. New Hampshire's offense came back to life as Coia snapped the scoring drought that lasted 5 minutes, 53 seconds. Furthermore, the basket ignited a 15-4 run to give the Wildcats a 44-37 lead with 13:50 to go in the second stanza.
Each side exchanged baskets to raise the score to 55-45 in the latter half of the second frame. New Hampshire was able to put the game out of reach as the Wildcats compiled a 12-1 run over 4:29 to lead 69-47. UNH maintained its lead for the remainder of the regulation to register the 72-53 victory.
The Wildcats remain in Durham as the Wildcats host the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Retrievers on Thursday, Feb. 6 (7 p.m.). For tickets, visit UNHWildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.