VESTAL, N.Y. – Junior guard Ariel Gaston (Toledo, Ohio) earned a career-high 19 points and five steals to lift the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team past the Binghamton University Bearcats, 64-46, at the Events Center Wednesday afternoon.
New Hampshire improves to 15-9 overall and 9-2 in America East in the victory. Binghamton falls to 4-21, 1-11.
The Wildcats tallied 16 steals in the game, a season-high. Head coach Maureen Magarity matches her personal-best in conference wins with nine.
In the second half, Gaston scored all 19 of her points on 8 of 8 from the floor and 2-for-2 from the free throw line. Sophomore guard Elizabeth Belanger (Acton, Mass.) pitched in 16 points and a career-high five swipes in the victory. Junior forward Kaylee Kilpatrick (Saint John, New Brunswick) was one rebound shy of a double-double with 14 points and nine boards.
Senior guard Stephanie Jensen led the Bearcats in scoring with 15 points, all by the 3-pointer (5 of 12). Forwards Sherae Swinson and Morgan Murphy chipped in eight points apiece.
The Wildcats were 23 of 49 (.469 field goal percentage) from the field and 3 of 10 (.300) from beyond the arc. Binghamton was 16 of 47 (.340) shooting and 7 of 19 (.368) from 3-point range.
Binghamton earned the first basket of the match on a Swinson jumper. The Wildcats leveled the score on the next possession, as Kilpatrick tallied a layup. After an offensive stalemate for 3 minutes, 28 seconds, Kilpatrick hit her second field goal on a 15-foot bid. The Bearcats took a 5-4 lead at 15:18 as Jensen drained a 3-pointer from the left side.
New Hampshire regained its lead on a 12-4 run to up the score 18-9 with five minutes left in the first half, powered by baskets from Kendall Martenet (Mukwonago, Wis.), Belanger and Kilpatrick. Binghamton used the 3-ball to pull within five points at 20-15. UNH retaliated with a 5-0 run to close the half with a 25-15 lead.
Binghamton opened the second frame on a 6-0 run, powered by scores from Swinson and Murphy. The Wildcats halted the streak and strung together a six-point run of their own to regain its double-digit advantage at 31-21.
The Bearcats pulled within five points again as Jensen and Newry provided the offensive firepower. UNH clenched onto its lead at 36-30 with 12:36 remaining in the second half.
Gaston jump-started the Wildcat offense with eight consecutive points and a pair of steals. UNH ensued with baskets from Belanger and Kilpatrick to lift the Wildcats to a 46-35 lead with 7:23 remaining in the second half.
Jensen cut Binghamton's deficit down to nine at 49-40 on a 3-pointer with 4:34 to go in the second half. New Hampshire would regain its double figure cushion and preserve it for the remainder of regulation. The Wildcats capped off the win on a 15-6 run to tally the 64-46 win.
The Wildcats return to Lundholm Gymnasium on Sunday, Feb. 16 (2 p.m.) to host the University of Hartford Hawks for its National Girls and Women in Sports game streamed live on ESPN3. For tickets, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000.