Before the America East Tournament kicked off Friday afternoon with a 61-49 win for the Seawolves over UMBC, nobody knew what would happen if the Stony Brook Women’s Basketball team was not clicking on all cylinders. Would the likes of Kristie Costantino, Alyssa Coiro and Kim Hanlon be able to respond to the pressure of being thrown into the gauntlet of the biggest game of the season?
The Seawolves bench showed that there is more to the team than its award winners, leading the team to a 20-0 run in the middle of the first half that they would never look back from.
Costantino, a freshman, came into the quarterfinals against the Retrievers averaging just 1.7 points in the less than eight minutes that she has played per game this season. The guard looked like she was a full-time starter as she scored five points as part of the massive run for the Seawolves starting at 15:12 of the first half.
For good measure, the Pennsylvania native knocked down another three-pointer with just over a minute left to punctuate a great start to the biggest weekend of the year for Stony Brook.
On contributing to such a big Stony Brook run, Costantino said, “It was a great experience. I’m happy to have been given the opportunity, and I’m happy we got the win.”
Freshman Alyssa Coiro took advantage of a UMBC defense that was clogging the paint by stepping out to the perimeter and hitting a baseline shot to halt a Retriever run towards the end of the game. In a big moment, the forward showed no hesitation in letting go of the shot, adding to her four rebounds in the game with that bucket, her only points of the game.
From trailing 7-5, the Stony Brook run would grow all the way to a 24-point turnaround, a massive swing for a team that won’t give up many points without going on a huge run.
As she did against Albany in Stony Brook’s huge upset win over the Great Danes, junior Jessica Ogunnorin made a huge difference on the offensive side of the ball, leading the scoring charge for the Seawolves. Adding 14 points, four rebounds and an assist in the game, Ogunnorin energized the team with her variety of jumpers and drives.
Much like the story has gone all season long, Stony Brook made its mark in the rebounding department. The Seawolves dominated the battle of the boards, especially in the first half when Stony Brook spent a chunk of time doubling the rebounding efforts of the Retrievers.
Coach O’Boyle was happy with the team’s effort in that department, as she said, “Our players just executed our offense great, and did an excellent job of going to the offensive glass, and I think those extra-chance points were really the difference in the game.”
First team All-America East member, junior Sabre Proctor led the Seawolves on the glass with 10 rebounds in addition to her four points and two assists. Being frustrated early by what was a tough interior defense applied by UMBC did not stop Proctor from contributing in other ways.
America East Defensive Player of the Year and first team All-America East member, senior Chikilra Goodman started her final conference tournament strongly with an all-around solid performance, scoring 12 points while snatching 12 rebounds and three assists.
The Seawolves move on to play the winner of New Hampshire and Vermont on Sunday, looking to advance to a likely meeting with conference powerhouse Albany.