Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton)
Lauren Gatto scored a team-high 14 points, leading Niagara (4-4) to a 63-57 win over Binghamton (1-9) in a non-conference women’s basketball game on Monday night at the Events Center. The loss marked the Bearcats’ final home game of 2012.
For the second game in a row, Binghamton stormed back from a double-digit deficit. Unlike Saturday’s win at Buffalo, however, the Bearcats were unable to come through down the stretch.
“It’s frustrating,” head coach Nicole Scholl said. “We showed a lot more intensity at the start of the second half. This is a game I thought we let get away from us.”
The loss overshadowed a career-high 26-point performance by junior guard Jasbriell Swian. In the process, she recorded the high-scoring effort by a Bearcat player this season. Swain went 10-of-16 from the field and added six rebounds and three steals.
Niagara took control of the game early, going on a 12-0 run in a span of 2:40 to go up 22-10 with 10:17 left in the first half. Kelly van Leeuwen had five of her seven points during that stretch.
Swain scored the next five points but the Purple Eagles slowly built their lead back up to 35-22 at the break. Of the Bearcats’ 22 points in the first half, Swain had 11 of them.
In the second half, Binghamton went on a 15-0 run in a span of 5:41 to tie the game at 39-39 with 12:30 left in regulation. Freshman forward Morgan Murphy, who ended up with 14 points, led the way with six points during that stretch. Swain added four points.
Junior guard Stephanie Jensen sank a three pointer to give Binghamton a 42-41 lead with 9:58 left to go. That would be the last lead the Bearcats would have, as the Purple Eagles answered with a 9-2 blitz to go up 50-44 with 6:09 remaining in the game.
A jumper by Swain pulled the Bearcats to within 54-52 at the 1:44 mark. On the ensuing possession, however, Shy Britton hit a key jumper, putting the Purple Eagles back up by three points.
In the final 38 seconds, Niagara iced the game by hitting seven of eight free throws.
Kayla Stroman added 12 points for Niagara in the winning effort.
The Bearcats shot 17-fo-21 from the free throw line (.810). Murphy went 10-of-11.
Binghamton heads to Syracuse for a 1 p.m. game on Saturday.
(Courtesy: BU Athletics)