Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Senior guard Vaneeshia Paulk scored a career-high 24 points, leading Binghamton (5-23, 2-13 AE) to a 55-51 win over Hartford (11-17, 8-7 AE) in an America East women’s basketball game on Wednesday night at the Events Center. The victory sets up a Saturday battle with UMBC for the No. 7 seed in the upcoming conference tournament.
Paulk went a perfect 5-for-5 from beyond the three point line and was 8-of-16 from the floor. It marked the second time in her career she has reached the 20-point mark in scoring.
Paulk’s final three pointer of the night gave the Bearcats a 49-48 lead with 4:24 left in regulation. Cherelle Moore, however, tied the game at 49-49 when she made the second of her two free throws with 1:31 left to go.
With the Bearcat front court struggling with foul trouble, freshman forward Kristin Ross subbed into the game right after Moore’s free throw. She proceeded to nail a jumper from the left side of the basket, giving Binghamton a 51-49 lead with 1:07 remaining.
Following a Hartford miss, Paulk gave the Bearcats some breathing room by converting a layup with 19 seconds to go. The Hawks missed a three-point attempt on their ensuing possession and Ross grabbed the rebound and was fouled with eight seconds left. She then sank both free throw attempts to seal the win.
“I am really happy for our team tonight,” head coach Nicole Scholl. “We beat a very tough Hartford team and really showed determination in the end. Vaneeshia had as good of a shooting game as we’ve seen in a long time and Kristin made some big plays when we ran into foul trouble.”
Sophomore guard Kandace Newry finished with eight points, six rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a pair of steals. Sophomore forward Morgan Murphy, meanwhile, grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds to go along with five points and four assists.
Moore came off the bench to lead Hartford with 15 points while Alyssa Reaves added 10 points.
The game on Saturday against UMBC (3-24, 2-13 tips off at 2 p.m. The winner faces either Stony Brook or New Hampshire in the conference quarterfinals while the loser meets top-seeded and defending champion Albany. The Retrievers beat Binghamton 47-32 at home back on Jan. 4.
(Courtesy: Binghamton University Athletics)