UMBC had never lost at the Events Center on Binghamton’s campus in the America East Tournament, holding a perfect 3-0 record.
However, it was the Stony Brook women’s basketball team that came to the center refusing to lose, fighting from 10 points down with 5:45 remaining, only to lose on a shot with four seconds remaining, 49-47 on Saturday night.
Refuse to lose.
That was the mantra of this Seawolves team heading down the home stretch in the second half, as Stony Brook fought to find a way to break down UMBC’s zone defense, a scheme the Retrievers used against Head Coach Caroline McCombs for the first time all season.
As the Seawolves found out, the three-point ball was not the answer, as the team went 5-of-25 from deep in the game.
The solution was sophomore point guard Kori Bayne-Walker, who took over the contest as the best player on the court in the second period, helping the Seawolves mount a serious charge.
Refuse to lose.
The same motto held true for Bayne-Walker as she tried to level the game in the final minute, ball in hand, looking to make a play.
The conference’s leader in assists took matters into her own hands. She drove down the lane and put up a touch shot that bounced in-and-around the hoop, only to setlle on near the baseline.
Refuse to lose.
Bayne-Walker was not ready to take the long bus ride back to Long Island quite yet, as she grabbed the offensive board, her sixth rebound of the game, and put it back in with seemingly a million hands in her face.
After a quiet first half with only four points, Bayne-Walker’s explosion, which included making both of her three-point attempts in the period, carried the team in its second half comeback.
However, it was not to be, as freshman Taylor McCarley of UMBC put her shoulder down on a drive towards the middle of the court on the other end, forcing up a shot that clanked off the backboard and in, giving UMBC the lead.
Bayne-Walker had a chance to bring the idea of “March Madness” to life, as she took the inbound pass with 3.3 seconds left, rushed down the court and threw up a heave.
As the ball fell back down to earth without swishing through the net, so came an end to Stony Brook’s first season under McCombs in an upset loss to the sixth-seeded Retrievers. As the Seawolves headed back to the bench to congratulate their opponents, senior Sabre Proctor, who was named as an All-America East First Team selection, rose up with her right leg wrapped, crutches in hand.
With time winding down in the first half, Proctor, who led the team in scoring and proved to be a threat in the post and beyond the arc, collided with a Retriever.
She ended up sitting out the rest of the game with her leg raised up on a set of chairs wrapped in ice. It was later revealed that she suffered a sprained knee.
That in itself made the Seawolves comeback all the more impressive.
Although it did not earn the team a win, Bayne-Walker scored 17 points in the second half alone after accounting for just over 11 per-game on the season, making up for the loss of the team’s scoring phenom.
Fellow senior Jessica Ogunnorin did her best to postpone the end of her Seawolves career as well. While Stony Brook struggled to sink long-range shots early, Ogunnorin did everything she could, on and off the dribble scoring 10 points in the period to keep the team in it.
Sophomore Christa Scognamiglio did what she could as well, draining Stony Brook’s other three long-rangers in her 11-point performance.
After a four to 14 to 24-win turnaround over the last few years, the Seawolves finished with 17 victories on the year. Losing Proctor and Ogunnorin next season, Stony Brook will look to reload in its pursuit of an America East Championship.