Patriots hold off Norwich in STAC playoff game

NORWICH – Norwich’s game plan worked almost to perfection – with the exception of the first eight minutes.

Unbeaten Binghamton scored in transition, was relentless on the offensive glass, and steamrolled Norwich for one quarter. The Pats created a 14-point opening-quarter bulge, and withstood Norwich’s comeback effort to prevail over the Tornado Tuesday night in the STAC semifinals, 60-52.

Caity Kuhnen and Emily Lewis had 14 points apiece to lead four Patriots in double figures. The contest ended with Norwich’s Hannah Runyon banking in shot from just inside halfcourt closing the gap to eight. With that shot, Norwich became the first team all season to finish within 10 points of the Patriots.

“We expected a battle, and we wanted to build a big lead early,” said Binghamton coach Kristin Lemon, who herself had several tough battles on the Tornado’s homecourt during her high school playing days at Maine-Endwell. “Norwich has some good shooters, and we worried about them hitting some shots down the stretch. Their shooters stepped up big in the second half.”

Norwich methodically crawled back into the game after trailing by as many as 21 points early in the second half. Binghamton point guard Tiahana Mills led her club’s offense, especially in transition where she consistently fed teammates for open shots or layups.

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