VESTAL, N.Y. – Senior Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) racked up 13 points and 12 rebounds for her league-leading 10th double-double of the season and the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team opened overtime with seven straight points as the Wildcats clipped Binghamton, 59-52, in the regular season finale on Saturday at the Events Center.
UNH wraps up the regular season at 16-12 overall and 9-7 in America East play to earn the No. 4 seed in next weekend's conference tournament, facing off against fifth-seeded UMBC in the quarterfinal round. Binghamton ends the season at 12-17 overall and 6-10 in league play to earn the No. 6 seed and will open against No. 3 and tournament host Hartford.
UNH's win snaps an 11-game losing streak to the Bearcats as the Wildcats improve to 3-0 in overtime games this season.
After UNH ended regulation with a 13-3 run to force overtime, the Wildcats kicked off the extra frame with seven unanswered points for the 51-44 advantage. Junior Morgan Frame (Waterville, Maine) made an immediate impact down low with a pair of paint buckets to go along with a turnaround jumper from sophomore Sarah-Marie Frankenberger (Gross Gerau, Germany) for the quick lead. Binghamton countered with a pair of 3-pointers to make it interesting, but the 'Cats converted eight free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
Beliveau earned America East Player of the Game honors for UNH, adding two assists and two blocks. Frame recorded a team-high 15 points, while senior Abigail LaRosa (Hampton, N.H.) posted a season-high 12 points on four three-pointers and four assists. Sophomore Kelsey Hogan (Nashua, N.H.) chipped in with nine points including a perfect 7-of-7 on free throw attempts.
As a team, the Wildcats shot 89.5 percent from the charity stripe and 32.2 percent from the field, edging the Bearcats' 28.1 percent shooting from the floor.
Binghamton opened the contest with a quick basket down low, but UNH responded by going to Frame in the paint as the junior netted the team's first six points for the 6-3 advantage at the first media timeout.
After swapping baskets, the Bearcats scored five straight points to go back in front by two, but LaRosa continued the back-and-forth action by matching a 3-pointer on the other end for the 11-10 lead at the midway point of the half.
UNH maintained a slim lead over the next four minutes before LaRosa knocked down her second trifecta of the half, followed by a deep jumper by Beliveau to put the Wildcats up 20-14 at the 4:28 mark.
Binghamton continued to get to the line in the final four minutes of the stanza with nine free throws, but could not convert a field goal during the stretch. UNH countered with a pair of free throws from Beliveau and another 3-pointer by LaRosa, her third of the half, for the 25-21 lead at intermission.
The Bearcats drew 12 fouls during the opening 20 minutes, committing just three on the other end of the floor, but shot just 16 percent from the field. UNH shot 38.5 percent from the floor, led by LaRosa with nine points.
Binghamton kicked off the second half with consecutive basket to even up the score at 25 apiece. UNH stormed back two possessions later as Beliveau drove through traffic for a tough layup, also drawing the foul for the conventional three-point play and 28-25 advantage.
From there, the Bearcats reeled off a 15-1 run over the next 6:56 to take back the lead at 40-31, until LaRosa snapped the stretch with her fourth 3-pointer of the contest to trim the deficit to six. LaRosa's trey sparked an 11-0 run by the Wildcats, capped off with a jumper by Beliveau to push the visitors in front, 42-40, with 5:15 remaining.
Binghamton answered right back with four straight points to regain the two-point lead, but Frame was able to muscle in a tough basket down low to even up the score at 44-44 with 1:04 left to play.
On Binghamton's last possession of regulation, Sherea Swinson's shot fell short and Beliveau fell to the floor to grab the offensive rebound in enough time to call the timeout and secure the final possession.
After Beliveau missed a 3-pointer on the other end of the floor, a Bearcat tip gave the Wildcats the ball with 1.8 seconds left on the clock, but Beliveau's layup attempt off the inbound rimmed out, forcing overtime and the eventual victory.
The fourth-seeded Wildcats return to action Friday, March 2 at 2:15 p.m. when they take on No. 5 UMBC in the quarterfinal round of the America East Championship tournament at Hartford's Chase Arena.