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Bearcats aiming for rings in March

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VESTAL, NY -

As the famous Herm Edwards quote goes "you play to win the game."  The BU Bearcats women's basketball team is looking to win more than a game this year.  They want to win the whole thing.

Binghamton University has never won an America East Women's Basketball Title, regular season or tournament.  WIth all five starters returning and more depth than they've had in Head Coach Linda Cimino's previous three years, the Bearcats have a real shot at changing that this season.  The Bearcats were picked third in the America East Preseason Coaches' Poll, behind defending regular season champion New Hampshire and defending tournament champion Albany.

If they want to finish this season as the best in the conference, it's not going to be easy, but they know what it will take.

"Hard work, be together as a team, and we're already halfway there.  So, as long as our season keeps going like how we're practicing now, we'll reach our goal," said Senior Forward Alyssa James, named to the Preseason All-Conference Team

"We have to be as good at 1 as we are at 8 or 9 and I think we're working on that at practice," said Senior Guard Imani Watkins, also on the Preseason All-Conference Team, her second career selection.  "People are stepping up and doing what we need them to do.  The energy and effort is great every practice and I think people are starting to see that we can get where we want to go."

Watkins and James already have quite the legacy to leave behind, and still with a year to go.  Watkins scored her 1,000th career point last season and currently ranks 4th on the Bearcats all-time scoring list.  James, meanwhile, ranks 3rd in program history in career blocks, and 6th in America East history.  Both Bearcats seniors have the potential of rewriting the record books, but as Cimino has told them, the team comes first.  Even so, Cimino would love to send two players who have meant so much to the program, out on top.

"They work so hard.  They've developed into great leaders.  The personal accolades cannot be achieved without the team accolades and they both know that.  For the last two years I've been telling the players, the only award we care about is Tournament MVP because usually that goes out to someone on the championship team.  So that's our goal this year is to get that Tournament MVP Award.  Imani has some personal goals.  She wants to break the all-time leading scoring record.  Alyssa wants to break the all-time block record, not only for the university, but as well for the conference.  They're both right there and I think that their teammates will put them in a position to achieve those milestones.  But first and foremost we want to win, and we want to win together, and I think they're all committed to that goal."

The Bearcats open the season on November 10 on the road against Army.