Stony Brook Women’s Basketball entered the fourth quarter of its Friday night match-up against Cornell in Ithaca, New York trailing 41-26. Two minutes into the final frame, the Big Red widened their lead to 19 on a pair of layups.
Stony Brook’s first loss of the season was sealed, but the team never stopped fighting.
The Seawolves tacked on 14 points in the game’s final eight minutes, hitting eight of nine from the free-throw line to make up for a 20 percent mark from the field in the quarter. The team’s late surge ultimately fell short, however, and by the final buzzer Stony Brook had lost 48-40.
“I thought Cornell came in with a really good game plan and executed it well,” head coach Caroline McCombs said in a press release. “They outplayed us tonight. Moving forward, we will continue to focus on the process, competing and getting better in practice every day.”
A poor start on offense doomed the Seawolves’ chances at a win. The team missed its first five shots, and fell behind 8-0 before a layup from freshman forward McKenzie Bushee put Stony Brook on the board with 3:41 left in the first quarter. Bushee finished with six points and seven rebounds, the fourth and second-most on the team, respectively.
Stony Brook scored four points on 17 percent shooting in the opening quarter, setting the tone for a game in which the team shot just below 27 percent. The Seawolves’ top two scorers this year, junior guards Shania Johnson and Jerell Matthews, finished with 11 points between them. Big Red junior guard Samantha Clement scored 11 points by herself, second on the team behind sophomore guard Samantha Widmann’s 15 points.
The Seawolves’ normally dynamic passing attack went cold in Ithaca. Stony Brook finished the game with four total assists, one less than Cornell sophomore guard Danielle Jorgenson and nine less than Cornell recorded as a team. Sophomore point guard Giolibeth Perez, normally one of Stony Brook’s primary playmakers, failed to register an assist in 17 minutes of play.
Defensively, Stony Brook was unable to stake out an advantage on the boards. Both teams finished with 35 rebounds and 20 turnovers, denying the Seawolves much of a chance at generating offense in transition.
Junior forward Cheyenne Clark was a bright spot in the loss. Clark finished with 11 points and nine rebounds, falling one board short of her second-straight double-double. The Mohawk Valley Community College transfer has reached double digit scoring totals in her last two games, raising her scoring average by more than two points per game.
The loss drops Stony Brook’s record to 5-1 overall, ending the longest season-opening winning streak in program history. Cornell improves its record to 2-5 with the victory.
Stony Brook will look to bounce back from Friday’s loss when the team travel to Syracuse on Sunday, Dec. 3. The Orange have won seven straight to start the season and are currently competing for a spot in the Associated Press’ Top-25 rankings. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.