For Immediate Release: March
Contact: David O'Brian (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Binghamton women's basketball defeated by Hartford 57-46 in America East semifinals
HARTFORD, Conn.--Senior guard Erika Messam scored 13 points and freshman Erica Beverly added 11 points and 11 rebounds, leading top-ranked Hartford (25-3) to a 57-46 win over fourth-seeded Binghamton (17-12) in an America East Conference Tournament semifinal game at the Chase Family Arena on Saturday afternoon. The defending champions advance to the finals for the third time in five years while the Bearcats conclude their deepest run in the conference tournament.
It was a suffocating defense by Hartford that proved to be the deciding factor. The Bearcats shot 30.6 percent for the game, hitting on only 15-of-49 shots against the America East Conference's top-ranked defense.
"We are disappointed with how our season ended but we have a lot to be proud of," head coach Rich Conover said. "Give Hartford credit. They are an outstanding basketball team and shut us down for most of the game."
Unlike their two games against Hartford in the regular season, the Bearcats hung tough against the Hawks the early going. They overcame an early 11-6 deficit to deadlock the game at 13-13 on a three-pointer by redshirt sophomore Brianna Thompson (Chehalis, Wash.) with just over 12 minutes remaining in the first half.
The Hawks broke a 17-17 deadlock to take a 24-19 lead with 2:56 remaining in the first half, prompting Conover to call a 30-second timeout. Hartford extended their lead to 26-19 at the break on a basket by Katie Kelly with four seconds left to go.
Binghamton went ice cold to start the second half, misfiring on their first nine attempts in the opening eight minutes. By that point, the Hawks opened up a 37-27 edge and an ensuing 5-0 run pushed the lead to 42-27 with 11:05 left to go.
The Bearcats cut the deficit to 53-46 on a three-point play by senior guard Rachel Laws (Wyncote, Pa.) with 1:18 remaining. Unlike the previous night, when Binghamton staged a ferocious rally in the final minute, Hartford hit three free throws to ice the game.
Laws finished with a team-high 12 points while sophomore guard Laura Sario (Espoo, Finland) chipped in 11 points.
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