Binghamton 70, Youngstown State 59 || Box score
Playing on the road over 350 miles away from their home gym was no big deal for Binghamton (20-11) as the Bearcats came from behind to beat Youngstown State 70-59 in the first round of the Women’s Basketball Invitational Wednesday night.
Led by senior guard Imani Watkins who finished with 27 points plus six rebounds, Binghamton earned a hard-fought win in the program’s first-ever Division I national postseason game. The victory gives the Bearcats 20 wins for the first time since the 2000-01 season.
Senior center Alyssa James finished with 18 points plus eight rebounds for Binghamton. Junior guard Jasmine Sina added 10 points and six assists.
Youngstown State finishes the season at 16-16. Junior guard Nikki Arbanas paced the Penguins with 16 points.
Binghamton will face Yale or Northeastern in the second round.
Fresno State 77, CSU Bakersfield 66 || Box score
Out West in California, Fresno State (17-14) followed in Binghamton’s footsteps by earning a 77-66 road win at CSU Bakersfield (18-14) in the WBI’s first round.
Candice White put on a blistering offensive performance for the Bulldogs. She finished with a game-high 29 points on 8-of-14 shooting. While CSU Bakersfield scored first, the Bulldogs quickly took over and led for most of the game. Fresno State went into halftime with a 43-32 lead.
The Bulldogs continued their momentum into the third quarter. However, CSU Bakersfield fought back in the last period with a 15-2 run to start the quarter. The game was tied 60 all with 4:47 left on the clock. White took over for Fresno State with back-to-back buckets giving her team the lead for the good.
Sophomore guard/forward Kristina Cavey was also in double figures for Fresno State with 15 points plus six rebounds. Freshman guard Aly Gamez added 12 points and five assists.
Junior guard Jazmine Johnson led CSU Bakersfield with 16 points and seven rebounds. Junior forward Malayasia McHenry scored 11 points and pulled down six rebounds. Junior guard Alexxus Gilbert and freshman forward Vanessa Austin finished with 10 points each.
Fresno State will face either UC Irvine or Nevada in the second round on Monday.
Yale 68, Northeastern 58
Yale (16-13) earned its first-ever win in a national postseason tournament with a 68-58 victory over fellow New England school Northeastern (16-15) Thursday night in the first round of the Women’s Basketball Invitational. Led by senior forward Jen Berkowitz, the Bulldogs held off Northeastern late in the game to come away with the victory.
“That kid just played with so much heart tonight," said Yale head coach Allison Guth about Berkowitz. "She was just really physical when she got the ball. She also made some great reads off the ball. I'm so happy for her."
Jess Geno paced Northeastern with 19 points plus four assists. Stella Clark and Jasmine Braswell added 10 points each. Braswell also grabbed five rebounds.
Yale will play Binghamton on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET in the second round.
Furman 65, UNC Asheville 64
Furman (18-13) edged UNC Asheville 65-64 in a road contest Thursday evening. The win marked Furman’s first post-season tournament victory in program history. Sophomore guard Le'Jzae Davidson led Furman with a game-high 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting, including 6-of-10 from 3-point range.
Redshirt senior forward DeAnneisha Jackson chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds. Overall the Paladins shot 52.8 percent from the field.
Jessica Wall scored 27 points for UNC Asheville (17-16) while Bronaza Fitzgerald added 16 plus 14 rebounds.
Furman will travel to South Alabama for a Tuesday matching in second round at 7 p.m. CT.
South Alabama 49, Stetson 33
South Alabama (20-12) took down Stetson 49-33 in Mobile Thursday night. The Jaguars led 17-11 after the first quarter and amped up the offense along with stellar defense in the second quarter with a 12-0 run.
“It's great to have an opportunity to play in the postseason in the WBI,” said South Alabama head coach Terry Fowler. “I thought we came out early getting shots that we wanted. They just weren't falling for us. Then we were able to get out and run. Our defense was outstanding. That's the way we're capable of playing. Hopefully, as we move along in this tournament, we can continue to play at that pace.”
Sophomore guard Shaforia Kines scored 14 points for South Alabama on 6-for-10 shooting. She was the only player on either team in double figures. She also pulled down four rebounds. Senior guard Genesis Perrymond added nine points, all from three-point land.
McKenna Beach had 12 points and four rebounds for Stetson (17-15).
The game was the first postseason appearance for South Alabama since the 2003-04 season.
Weber State 66, Texas Southern 56
Weber State (21-10) traveled all the way from Utah and upset Texas Southern 66-56 in the Lone Star state Thursday night in their WBI opener.
"Hard fought road battle and in tournament time it's do or die for both teams," said Weber state head coach Bethann Ord. "Texas Southern did a great job battling to end. Survive and advance and we live to play another day."
Redshit senior guard Larryn Brooks led Weber State with 26 points. Sophomore guard Emily Drake added 10 points.
Kaitlyn Palmer had 29 points and four rebounds for Texas Southern (19-13). Chynna Ewing was also in double figures with 15 points plus six rebounds.
Weber State will travel to Central Arkansas for a Monday matchup at 5:30 p.m. CT
Central Arkansas 51, SIUE 39
Central Arkansas (23-9) shut down visiting SIUE 51-39 to give the Sugar Bears their first postseason victory since becoming a DI institution.
SIUE (17-15) took an early 10-2 lead but Central Arkansas turned the tables and by halftime, led 32-18. The Sugar Bears managed to hold off SIUE late in the game when the Cougars got within one point with 8:50 remaining in the last quarter.
Sophomore guard Taylor Sells led Central Arkansas with 12 points plus four rebounds. Senior forward Taylor Baudoin added 11 points plus eight rebounds.
Sydney Bauman was the only SIUE player to score in double figures.
Nevada 70, UC Irvine 60
Under first year head coach Amanda Levens, Nevada (18-16) began postseason play on a high note with a 70-60 win over UC Irvine (18-14) Thursday night in Reno. It was just the second-ever victory in a postseason contest for the Wolf Pack.
With 18 wins this season, Levens ties Jane Albright as the winningest first year head coach in program history.
Senior guard T Moe led the Nevada with a game-high 18 points and moved into 10th in career scoring for the program. Senior forward Teige Zeller contributed 17 points and 14 rebounds for her 12th double-double of the season. Juniors Jade Redmon and Terae Briggs scored 10 points each.
Morgan Green paced UC Irvine with 14 points and five rebounds. Lauren Saiki added 12 points.
Nevada is set to face Fresno State Monday night at 7 p.m. PT in the second round.
Round 2 Schedule
Monday, March 19
Weber State at Central Arkansas, 5:30 PM CST
Furman at South Alabama, 7 PM CST
Nevada at Fresno State, 7 PM PST
Tuesday, March 20
Yale at Binghamton, 7 PM EST