With eight minutes left in the first half, Stony Brook Women’s Basketball senior forward Elizabeth Manner went to go set an off-ball screen to run a play. However, with the Hartford Hawks running a 3-2 zone defense, there was no clear player to set a screen on. Manner just threw her hands up and ran back to the paint.
Such was the theme for the Seawolves: frustration.
Stony Brook couldn’t crack the codes on Hartford’s defense as the team fell, 62-40, on Wednesday afternoon at the Island Federal Credit Union Arena.
“It was just disappointing,” head coach Caroline McCombs said. “To come home, and not to just get into a rhythm early going was tough.”
The Hawks opened the game on an 11-2 run before senior guard Kori Bayne-Walker went on a 4-0 run of her own, cutting the deficit to just five points. That was the closest Stony Brook would get to Hartford for the rest of the game.
Hartford went on a 22-12 run from the 3:25 mark of the first quarter until halftime. The Hawks did their damage with crisp ball movement and rebounding.
While moving the ball around, Hartford was not afraid to make the extra pass, especially around the three-point line. This led to a three-for-four shooting day from outside in the first half.
“We had a slow start, and they capitalized,” McCombs said. “They really took advantage for the entire game and we never were able to catch up.”
The 3-2 zone hurt Stony Brook. A majority of possessions would consist of passing between the two guards and the small forward, and then culminate with a missed three-pointer or a contested two-pointer.
Even the easy shots were not falling. Eight seconds into the second quarter, Manner missed a wide-open layup that spun around the rim and fell out after getting fouled going up for the shot. Sophomore center Ayshia Baker was able to get to the rim after breaking through the zone only to come up short on the open layup with 4:16 left in the game.
The misses led to big rebounding advantages for Hartford, and at the break, the team held a plus-seven advantage on the glass, 20-13. Hartford’s zone also forced many turnovers, as the Seawolves turned the ball over 18 times throughout the game compared to the Hawk’s 11 times.
Although this was a home game for Stony Brook, the team looked tired. It was stuck in Maine for two extra days and lost precious practice time and relaxation due to the winter storm. However, McCombs hopes that with the next few days off, the team will get back on track.
“We have one more road game and two more home games,” McCombs said. “I just told the girls to go to class, relax, sleep in their own beds and just get back into our normal routine. So then hopefully some of that normalcy can translate on the court.”
The Seawolves have several days of rest before hitting the road one last time. The team travels to Binghamton for their road finale on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 4 p.m..