By David Vertsberger and Joe Galotti
Point #1: Stony Brook’s road win over Albany was huge.
Through this regular season’s highs and lows, little has measured up to the challenge that the Seawolves will most likely face come March: playing and beating Albany on the road in SEFCU Arena in the postseason. The Great Danes were 12-0 in conference play before SBU took a trip to the state’s capital and handed them their first loss.
Although this was just one win, it has a few implications. For one, this win gives Stony Brook a seeding advantage by giving the Seawolves the edge over New Hampshire, which has the same conference record and has split its series with SBU. Secondly, the win could give the Seawolves confidence heading into a postseason meeting with Albany, having already beaten the Great Danes once.
Although Peter Hooley is still working to get back into game form and it took a breakout performance from Scott King to win the contest, Stony Brook’s victory is a stark message to the world and themselves that no team can feel safe facing off against its squad.
Point #2: The SBU women’s basketball team is heating up at the right time.
With the America East tournament quickly approaching, the Stony Brook women’s basketball team finds itself playing its best basketball of the season. The Seawolves have excelled in conference play as of late, winning seven of their last nine games.
The team’s offensive play has been the driving force behind its recent hot stretch. Stony Brook has scored at least 60 points in each of their previous seven wins. Over the team’s first 18 games, SBU failed to reach the 60-point mark 10 times.
Christa Scognamiglio has been a big reason for the team’s increased offensive output. The sophomore forward has scored in double-digit figures in six of the team’s past seven.
Kori Bayne-Walker is thriving in the role as the team’s main distributor. The sophomore leads the America East in assists per game during conference play.
The one knock against Stony Brook entering this weekend, was that they have struggled when some of the conference’s top teams. But, on Sunday the Seawolves put those concerns to rest when they defeated conference powerhouse Albany.
Over the past nine games Stony Brook has proved that their capable of beating anyone in the America East. Now they will have to sustain this high level of play through the America East tournament in March.
Point #3: The Seawolves thrive when redshirt freshman Roland Nyama thrives.
Stony Brook is now 7-2 when Nyama scores ten or more points and 3-0 when he scores 20 or more. These are select games in a long season, but those numbers are hard to ignore, especially when you factor in that the Seawolves are 13-3 when three players score in double-digits.
Although it is nearly impossible for SBU to die by Nyama’s game, with him consistently playing strong defense and oozing energy on the court, the Seawolves sure can live by him when he is on his game. Nyama is now the most efficient shooter on the team statistically, so the only thing left is getting him to actually shoot.
On some nights, Nyama will take any foot of space and let it fly to much success. Nyama is shooting just under 40 percent from deep in games where he takes three or more threes. On other nights, he stays gun-shy both from distance and in looking for seams and lanes to the hoop.
He is still only a freshman, but as unfair as it sounds, Stony Brook will desperately need Nyama to look for his shot and knock it down come the postseason.
Point #4: The Seawolves will need Proctor to be at the top of her game in order to succeed in March.
No one can argue that Sabre Proctor has put together a fantastic season this year for Stony Brook. Coming into Sunday, her 14.9 points per game ranked fourth-highest in the conference, and her 6.7 rebounds per game ranked eighth highest in the America East. She has also managed to reach double-digit point totals in 21 games.
But, during some of the Seawolves biggest conference matchups this season, Proctor has failed to deliver.
This was the case in the team’s 57-49 loss to Maine on Feb. 15. The senior shot only 1-of-7 from the floor, and totaled just three points in a game in which her team was in need of an offensive boost, against one of the conference’s top defenses.
Proctor also struggled offensively in Stony Brook’s 60-58 loss to Hartford back on Jan. 29. She shot only 2-of-7 from the field, scoring just seven points in her team’s one possession defeat.
On Sunday against Albany it was a much different story for Proctor. She led the team with 21 points, shooting 7-of-9 from the field and was a major difference maker for the Seawolves.
Stony Brook’s recent matchups against some of the conference’s elite teams have showcased that the Seawolves will go as far as Proctor will carry them.
When Proctor is on her game, SBU is capable of beating any America East foe they encounter. When she is not, winning becomes a much more difficult task for the team.
The bottom line is that if the Seawolves are to make a deep postseason run, they will need their best player, Proctor, to play as well as she did on Sunday against the Great Danes.