The Stony Brook’s Women’s Basketball team entered Monday night’s game against the Albany Great Danes with a chance at history. The Seawolves had an opportunity to obtain the first NCAA tournament bid for either basketball program, but fell in the America East Championship game 70-46.
In arguably their worst half of basketball on the season, Stony Brook shot only 21 percent from the field while turning the ball over a massive 10 times to cede a 16 point lead to the Great Danes at the half.
Although Stony Brook showed fight on the offensive boards like they have all season long, failure to take advantage of second-chance opportunities hurt the Seawolves.
For much of the first half, the Seawolves got what they wanted: Albany stars Shereesha Richards and Megan Craig in foul trouble. Both had two fouls early, relegating them to the bench, much like what happened in Stony Brook’s win over Albany at SEFCU Arena in the last game of the regular season.
This time around, with the America East title on the line, Stony Brook failed to take advantage of the open paint without Albany’s imposing 6-foot-9-inch center, Craig. Albany played a solid defensive 2-3 zone to keep the likes of freshman Kori Bayne-Walker and senior Chikilra Goodman from getting the ball to the rim. Forced to take toughly guarded jump shots, the Seawolves could not hit, which hurt them from the start.
After falling behind 24-8 only a quarter of the way into the game, Stony Brook did not have the shooting day necessary to cut the lead and sink their teeth into the game.
Missing redshirt sophomore Miranda Jenkins, who was out due to a knee injury suffered in the Seawolves’ semifinal win over New Hampshire, has been key in knocking down important shots throughout the season and conference tournament. Missing a perimeter shooter in Jenkins was a key loss for Stony Brook against a tough Albany team.
Leading the effort for Stony Brook was sophomore workhorse Brittany Snow, with 12 points and eight rebounds. The forward fought all the way through, grabbing six boards on the offensive glass for the Seawolves.
Also contributing in the scoring column was junior Sabre Proctor, pouring in 12 points while also snatching five rebounds. The forward did a solid job of containing the nearly unstoppable Craig of Albany, limiting her to only seven points on the game.
Junior Jessica Ogunnorin had yet another good performance in the loss, reaching double digits with 10 points and seven rebounds on the evening.
On the bright side for Seawolves fans, Stony Brook has clinched a spot in the WNIT, their first postseason berth since the 2005-2006 season, and their second overall.
Coach Beth O’Boyle was still happy with the performance of her team this season, as she said, “I’m really proud of our players and where we’ve taken this program,” adding that “we’re excited about going into the NIT.”
For a program that had merely four wins in coach O’Boyle’s first year as coach in the 2011-2012 season, 24 wins and a postseason berth is still something to be proud of.