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Women’s Basketball Beats Youngstown State 70-59 in WBI First-Round Game

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 Playing in its first-ever Division I national postseason game, Binghamton (20-11) won 70-59 at Youngstown State (16-16) in the opening round of the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI) on Wednesday night at Beeghly Center. With the victory, the Bearcats will face either Yale or Northeastern in a second-round matchup with the date and location yet to be announced. The Bulldogs and Huskies square off Thursday night.

It was a historic win for the Bearcats in more ways than one. Binghamton now has 20 wins for the first time since the 2000-01 season, the year before it moved up to the NCAA Division I level. Since then, Binghamton has won 19 games twice (2001-02 and 2010-11).

Senior guard Imani Watkins led all scorers with 27 points, marking the 45th time during her illustrious career that she has reached the 20-point mark. The current America East Player of the Year now has 2,102 points for her career – which remains first in program history and No. 10 in conference history.

Senior center Alyssa James finished with 18 points, eight rebounds, four blocks and a pair of steals. Redshirt junior Jasmine Sinaadded 10 points and a team-best six assists.

Binghamton was down 19-8 through one period but roared back to take a 34-33 lead with 1:14 left before halftime. Watkins punctuated the run with a three-point play.

Youngstown State reclaimed the lead when Nikki Arbanas drained a three pointer at the buzzer of the second period.

The lead swung back and forth during the third period with the Penguins taking a 47-45 lead on a jumper by Anne Secrest with 2:28 left to go. Watkins, however, responded by hitting back-to-back three-point field goals as Binghamton took the lead for good.

Nursing a 55-52 lead, Binghamton got back-to-back three-point field goals by Sina and sophomore guard Kai Moon to open up a 61-52 lead with 6:22 left in regulation.

From there, Binghamton maintained at least a seven-point lead the rest of the way.

Arbanas led Youngstown State with 16 points while Sarah Cash finished with 13 points.

Junior forward Rebecca Carmody added eight points, four rebounds, two assists, a block and three steals. Moon also finished with three steals.

Binghamton shot 48.3 percent for the game (29-60) and was 6-of-14 from three-point range (42.9 percent). The Bearcats dished out 15 assists and committed a season-low seven turnovers.

As a team, the Bearcats also blocked six shots and recorded 12 steals. The Bearcats entered the game ranked fourth in the nation with 6.0 blocks per game.

Courtesy: BU Athletics