VESTAL, N.Y. – The Navy women’s basketball team had Binghamton University on the ropes from the start and deep into the fourth quarter before the opportunistic hosts scratched out a come-from-behind 54-51 victory at the Binghamton Events Center on Wednesday night. The Mids (0-10) were sparked by a fast start and 10-point lead at the end of the first quarter, while the Bearcats (6-5) gnawed away at their deficit with small edges in each of the next three quarter-by-quarter scoring totals and took their first lead mid-way through the fourth period.

Sydne Watts (Jr., Canton, Ga.) was strong for Navy as she posted a game-high 22 points to go along with a season-high seven rebounds over 40 minutes of play. Mimi Schrader (Sr., Plymouth, Minn.) provided secondary scoring for the Mids on Wednesday night with 11 points on four-of-seven shooting and three three-pointers. Additionally, the senior team captain grabbed a season-high eight rebounds. Freshman center Kate Samson (Richmond, Va.) posted a well-rounded individual statline with six points, nine rebounds and a game-high four blocks.

“I’m really proud of our effort tonight,” remarked head coach Tim Taylor. “We played a lot better defensively in stretches. We rebounded really well and didn’t allow a lot of second chance opportunities. In the end, it came down to that they [Binghamton] made some really hard, contested shots and we weren’t able to finish a handful of contested layups that we probably should have made. They made one more play than we did. I thought we had a good play at the end with a back-door to Sydne, but their player was able to get a hand on it for a block. Overall, we grew tonight. We shortened our bench a little bit. There are definitely positives that we can take from tonight. We’ll look at the film and work on getting better. We left some things out there tonight that we’d definitely like to have back. For the most part, I felt that we played really, really hard and competed for 40 minutes. It’s coming.”

The action on Wednesday started extremely fast as Navy scored on five of its first seven possessions and ran out to a 12-4 lead by the 6:07 mark of the first quarter. Three-pointers, first by Schrader and later by Watts during this stretch bolstered the Mids’ attack. The up-and-down flow of play continued with the teams making shots on both ends of the court. The frenetic pace saw the under-five media timeout last all the way until 2:47. At the point, Navy held a 16-10 lead. Maren Louridas (Fr., Delmar, N.Y.) and Watts netted both of those additional baskets for the Mids. Navy closed out its high-scoring quarter with four more points, two from Watts and two from Shannon Clarke (Fr., Lawrence, Kan.).

Holding a 10-point lead of 20-10, the game advanced by that same margin through the media timeout of the second quarter as each team slowly added four points to its respective scoring effort. Over the next two minutes from that 5:22 point of the quarter, Binghamton rattled off an 8-3 run to tighten the score to 27-22. Schrader netted Navy’s lone field goal in this segment as Watts found her beyond the arc for a three-pointer, her second trey of the half. Watts took over the scoring reins down the stretch with five individual points. Unfortunately for the Mids, the Bearcats recorded five points of their own to send the game to the locker room with just a five-point separation, 32-27.

Navy continued to keep Binghamton at bay in the third quarter as the visitors opened up an eight-point advantage within the first 2:45 of the period as they connected on three of their first four shot attempts. Samson put the exclamation point on this successful run with a smooth up-and-under baseline layup at 7:15. With the score 38-30 in favor of the Mids, the Bearcats buckled down defensively and held Navy without a basket for over four minutes. Though struggling offensively, the Mids’ defense stood strong and only allowed the Bearcats to shave four points off their deficit. An offensive rebound and putback by Morganne Andrews (Jr., Martinsburg, W.Va.) put a temporary end to that cold streak at 3:06 though Binghamton immediately responded with back-to-back baskets to draw within two at 40-38 at 2:11. The quarter concluded with the Bearcats eeking closer to just one point, 42-41, before Watts knocked down a spinning turnaround jumper in the Mids’ final possession to make it 44-41.

After scoring 12 points in third quarter, Navy’s scoring momentum slowed even further in the fourth as it didn’t register a point until the 4:49 juncture of the fourth period. Once again, a solid defensive effort ensured that the Bearcats couldn’t take too much advantage of this cold stretch as Binghamton only netted four points of its own. Down 45-44, Schrader willed the Mids back into the lead as she calmly sank her third three-pointer of the contest to swing Navy ahead 47-45. The teams traded baskets for the next three minutes with Watts registering both of the Mids’ field goals. A Denai Bowman jump shot for the Bearcats at 1:44 knotted the score for the third time at 51-all. Each team went scoreless over its ensuing possessions until Bowman called her own number with a driving layup to the hoop with 17 seconds left. Navy was unable to respond to that late basket as the Binghamton went 1-2 from the foul line to go up three points before watching Watts’ desperation three-point attempt at the final buzzer bounce off the backboard, deflect into the rim, but rattle out at the last second. After all of the dramatics, the Bearcats came away with the 54-51 victory.

For the game, Navy outshot Binghamton from the field, 38.6 percent (22-57) to 37.1 (23-62) and from three-point range, 31.3 percent (5-16) to 9.1 (1-11). The Bearcats bested the Mids in free throw shooting, 63.6 percent (7-11) to 22.2 (2-9).

Navy also held advantages on the glass with a 43-37 advantage in total rebounds and a 9-7 edge in offensive boards. Andrews led an active group with 10 rebounds, four of the offensive variety and six on defense. Samson (9), Schrader (8) and Watts (7) checked in right behind Andrews with strong individual rebounding totals.

Defensively, Samson finished with four blocks. As a team, Navy turned aside eight total Binghamton shots.

The Mids will be back in action on Sunday with their final regular season non-conference contest as they will face off with the Georgetown Hoyas in Washington, D.C. Tip-off at McDonough Arena is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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