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Lady Bearcats down top contender in America East

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VESTAL, N.Y. -

Senior guard Imani Watkins scored a game-high 27 points, powering Binghamton (11-5, 2-1 AE) to a 64-59 win over first-place Hartford (11-6, 3-1 AE) in an America East women's basketball game on Saturday afternoon at Dr. Bai Lee Court at the Events Center. With the victory, the Bearcats are off to their best start since the 2003-04 season, when they started with the same record. The win is also Binghamton's seventh in the past eight games.

Watkins, who scored 23 of her points in the first half, has now scored at least 20 points in six consecutive games, which ties the longest such streak of her career. She now has 1,810 points all time, which moves her into 14th place all time in America East Conference history. Watkins remains in third place in Binghamton program history but is now only 26 points away from tying Sarah Cartmill (1998-02) for second place with 1,836 points.

In addition, Watkins continues to lead the America East with 21.4 points per game. That ranks ahead of the Binghamton program's single season scoring average of 21.3 points, set by Bess Greenberg during the 1999-00 season.

Junior forward Rebecca Carmody finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds, notching her third career double-double in the process. Sophomore guard Kai Moon added 11 points.

Senior center Alyssa James meanwhile, finished with a career-high 16 rebounds to go along with six points, three blocks, two assists and a pair of steals. She now has 229 career blocks, which is just two short of the America East record (231 by Jamie Cassidy of Maine from 1996-00) and seven away from the Binghamton record of 236, set by current Associate Head Coach Leah (Truncale) Bowers from 1998-02.

Watkins broke a 30-30 tie by scoring the last five points in the first half. She made the go-ahead layup with 1:12 remaining and hit a three pointer from half court at the buzzer to give the Bearcats a 35-30 lead at the break.

In the third period, Binghamton built its lead to as much as 43-36, when Moon converted a layup at the 5:18 mark. The Hawks, however, clawed back and deadlocked the score at 49-49 when Mary Pattison swished a three point shot with 9:32 left in regulation.

Hartford took the lead when Jade Young hit a three-point field goal, making the score 57-56 with 5:03 left in regulation. Carmody, however, answered with back-to-back layups, putting Binghamton back up 60-57 with 3:54 left to go.

Carmody and sophomore guard Carly Boland iced the game by going 4-for-4 at the line in the final 30 seconds of the game.

Darby Lee led Hartford with 18 points while Pattison finished with 13 points.

Binghamton shot 45 percent for the game (23-for-51) and was 8-for-19 (42 percent) from beyond the three-point arc.

Hartford, which came into the game leading the America East in steals, had 17 against the Bearcats.

Binghamton travels to Albany on Monday for a 2 p.m. game.

Courtesy: BU Athletics Department