Orono, ME (WBNG Binghamton) Junior guard Stephanie Jensen netted 12 of her career-high 15 points in the second half, including a three-pointer with 1:16 remaining that proved to be the difference in a 67-65 road victory over Maine Sunday afternoon from Alfond Arena. Binghamton overcame a nine-point halftime deficit to pick up their second conference win of the season.
“I’m proud of the way we fought back in the second half,” head coach Nicole Scholl said afterwards. “After struggling in the first half, I think we started to settle down and figure out how to attack on the offensive end. Steph (Jensen) hit some huge shots for us down the stretch and Kara (Elofson) played about as good as I’ve seen her play for us in the second half.”
In total, four Binghamton players hit double figures including Jensen (15), Kara Elofson (13), Sherae Swinson (13) and Kim Albrecht (12). The Bearcats played about as well of an offensive half as they played all season, connecting on 16-of-31 from the field, including an impressive 6-of-9 (.667) from beyond the arc.
To begin the game, junior guard Jasbriell Swain got things rolling for the visiting Bearcats with a pair of buckets that gave Binghamton the early 6-4 advantage. However, the Black Bears rallied in a big way, reeling off 16 unanswered points to jump ahead 20-6 with eight and a half minutes left in the first half. Freshman Liz Wood registered six of Maine’s points during that stretch. Swinson’s 15-foot elbow jumper ended the scoreless drought which eclipsed eight minutes.
Later, a 9-2 BU run, which was capped off by a Swinson layup following a great no-look feed from Swain; put BU within reach at 26-17 with 4:49 remaining. Both teams traded buckets down the stretch of the first half as the Bearcats trailed 33-24 at intermission. Maine shot an even 50 percent from the field, including 4-of-7 from deep. Albrecht tallied seven points off the bench for BU and Swinson chipped in with six to pace the visitors.
Binghamton started to figure out the Maine 2-3 zone at the beginning of the second half as they connected on a pair of three-pointers that cut Maine’s lead to just five at 39-34. Swinson hit a long ball from the top of the arc and Jensen followed suit when she nailed a transition three from the right wing a few possessions later. Junior guard Vaneeshia Paulk continued the run hitting on a driving layup that sliced the Black Bear’s lead to just three.
After trailing by as many as 16, a pair of free throws from Swain knotted the score at 41 with a little over 14 minutes left on the clock. Just moments later, the Black Bears broke out of their offensive lull when Lauren Bodine drilled a corner three to give the hosts a 46-41 advantage. Before that shot, Binghamton was on a 13-4 run.
Maine continued their hot shooting as they went on an 8-3 run, capped off by another long ball from Bodine, putting the Black Bears up 56-48 with eight minutes remaining. With things starting to get away, senior forward and captain Kara Elofson led the Bearcats on a 9-0 run. Elofson’s six paint points in that stretch gave the visitors a 57-56 lead with 5:44 left.
Minutes later and after a pair of threes exchanged by both squads, Albrecht came up big once again. The freshman guard hit a corner jumper to even the score at 62. Possessions later, Elofson muscled her way on the block for another score, giving her a season-high 13 points and her team the two-point lead.
Now, with just over a minute left and the shot clock winding down, Jensen fired a shot well beyond NBA three point range that rattled in giving BU the 67-62 lead. But true to the game’s pace and style, Maine responded on the next possession with a three of their own. After a missed shot, BU corralled the offensive rebound and were able to wind down the clock. After a long range attempt from Jensen went awry, Albrecht grabbed yet another offensive board. Maine was forced to foul with 1.7 ticks left and after BU missed the front end of a 1-and-1 Maine called a timeout. With 1.1 seconds remaining, Maine’s halfcout heave didn’t go, securing BU their third victory of the season.
The win snaps a four-game losing skid for Binghamton and marks the eighth win in 10 most recent games versus Maine. The Bearcats outscored Maine’s bench 25-3 and committed a season-low 10 turnovers (including one in the second half).
Liz Wood led the Black Bears with a game-high 20 points, along with nine rebounds and six assists. Bodine chipped in with 15 points as well for Maine who drops to 0-5 in conference play.
Binghamton gets six days off before hosting UNH on Saturday at 4 p.m.. The game will be the first of a double header, finishing with the men’s game at 7 p.m..