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Lady Bearcats escape East Stroudsburg in exhibition

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VESTAL, N.Y. – Sophomore guard Imani Watkins scored a game-high 28 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, leading Binghamton to a 66-59 victory over East Stroudsburg in a women's exhibition basketball game on Friday evening at the Events Center. The game marked the Bearcats' lone preseason contest of the year.

Watkins was one of three Bearcat players to reach double figures in scoring. Sophomore Alyssa James added 19 points and nine rebounds while freshman guard Rebecca Carmody added 11 points and nine rebounds.

East Stroudsburg countered by nailing 12 three-point field goals and led for most of the second half. Binghamton, however, outscored the Warriors 20-6 in the fourth and final quarter to pull out the win.

"I am very proud of our team for coming back tonight," head coach Linda Cimino said. "East Stroudsburg played unbelievable and made us work for everything we got. Our defense was great in the final quarter."

The Warriors went up 55-46 when Allison Howard opened the fourth quarter by nailing a jumper. From there, however, the Bearcats went on an 11-2 run to tie the game at 57-57 with 4:12 left in regulation. James had five of her points during that stretch.

Howard sank a pair of free throws to put East Stroudsburg back up 59-57 with 3:53 left to go. Watkins and Carmody, however, combined to go 6-for-6 from the free throw line over the ensuing 1:07 to give Binghamton the lead for good.

Imani Brown netted a team-high 17 points for the Warriors. She was 5-for-11 from beyond the three-point arc. Howard netted 13 points and Tyeca Reviere chipped in 10 points.

Binghamton finished the game 24-for-33 (73 percent) from the free throw line. Watkins led the way by draining 11 of her 12 attempts.

James and Carmody were both playing their first games in Binghamton uniforms. James sat out last season after transferring from Caldwell University prior to the 2014-15 campaign.

Binghamton opens up its 2015-16 season with its first ever game against Michigan. The game will take place in Ann Arbor next Saturday at noon.

NOTES: Watkins also finished with a game-high four steals ... the NCAA has changed the rules for women's basketball this season, which is now playing four 10-minute quarters as opposed to two 20-minute halves.

(Courtesy: BU Athletics)