Stony Brook Women’s Basketball was determined to regain its dominant offensive edge when it faced the Sacred Heart Pioneers on Tuesday, Dec. 4.
The Seawolves came off a nail-biting 63-61 victory over Cornell on Saturday, Dec. 1, when the usually offensively high-tempo Seawolves struggled by shooting 39 percent from the field. The Seawolves put their recent shooting struggles behind them and defeated the Pioneers 73-58, extending their winning streak to seven straight games.
“I thought tonight was a well fought road win for us,” head coach Caroline McCombs said in a press release. “We stuck together during Sacred Heart’s run in the second quarter and came out with more intensity and focus in the second half. I’m proud of our group because it was again a total team effort.”
Stony Brook wasted no time asserting its offensive dominance, jumping to an 11-4 lead off a layup by redshirt-sophomore forward Oksana Gouchie-Provencher midway through the first quarter. Sophomore guard Hailey Zeise capitalized off the fastbreak by knocking down a 3-point shot, giving the Seawolves a 22-9 lead at the end of the first. Stony Brook played its best in the first by converting almost 54 percent of its shots and knocking down five free throws.
Although Sacred Heart could not overcome its shooting woes behind the arc and only made one shot from three the entire game, it pounced on the scoring opportunities offered by Stony Brook’s fouls. The Pioneers capitalized off seven defensive Seawolves fouls and cut the double-digit deficit to five points, trailing 35-30 after the second quarter. Sacred Heart continued utilizing the strategy through the second half and scored 21 points off 30 free throw attempts.
Sophomore forward India Pagan helped Stony Brook adjust defensively by leading plays that resulted in fastbreaks to begin the third quarter. Her defensive rebound resulted in senior guard Jerell Matthews knocking down the open 3-pointer to give the Seawolves the 48-37 lead and force a Pioneers timeout. Pagan’s four rebounds in the third helped Stony Brook take the 53-42 lead, closing out the third.
Sacred Heart freshman guard Jayla Davis’ inside jumper cut the deficit to eight points in the beginning of the fourth, but it was the closest the team would get to erasing it. The senior guard duo of Matthews and Shania “Shorty” Johnson responded with a six-point run and later swished consecutive 3-pointers, handing the Seawolves the 67-48 lead. Johnson followed up by dishing a pass to Pagan inside for the score, giving them the largest lead of the night at 21.
Johnson and Matthews combined for 31 points and made seven total 3-pointers. Pagan earned 12 points and led the team with nine rebounds while sophomore forward McKenzie Bushee recorded eight points off the bench.
Johnson retained her position as the NCAA leader for both men’s and women’s basketball in assists after taking the top spot with 77 through eight games. She is nearly averaging a double-double with over 17 points and 9.6 assists per game.
The Seawolves will look to extend their winning streak to eight games when they take on the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights at the Island Federal Credit Union Arena on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 2 p.m.