By Kunal Kohli and Andrew Eichenholz
After sliding past Albany, the Stony Brook Seawolves locked up the third seed in the America East tournament, defeating Binghamton 68-59 on Thursday night in Vestal, N.Y.
The first half was a rough one to start. After going scoreless in the first five minutes and allowing a six-point run by the Bearcats, the Seawolves finally got their offense started with a layup by sophomore guard Christa Scognamiglio.
The Seawolves kept up the tempo by going on a 12-3 run led by sophomore guard Kori Bayne-Walker and senior forward Sabre Proctor. They were held in check as Binghamton’s freshman guard Jasmine Sina got off the bench and helped jumpstart the Bearcats’ offense.
Stony Brook managed to hold on to the lead for the rest of half ending taking a 30-28 lead into the break.
A minute into the second half, it looked like it was going to be more of the same. The Seawolves started 0-3 from the field and had two turnovers in the first three minutes. But, looks can be deceiving. Bayne-Walker came to play in the second, scoring 15 of her 23 on the night.
The Seawolves went on a 19-3 run, making the game 49-33 with 11 minutes remaining. After that, it was just smooth sailing for Stony Brook.
Whatever the Bearcats tried, Stony Brook had an answer for it. The game ended with Scognamiglio dribbling the ball out after collecting her fourth steal, giving the Seawolves a 68-59 win.
Just like she has been for most of the season, Bayne-Walker was the story of the game. Her game-high 23 points fueled the Seawolves all game long. She also dished the ball off well, tallying four assists. Proctor also had a great game with 16 points and six defensive boards.
Women’s basketball team had nothing to play for but confidence on Sunday afternoon against the Hartford Hawks, being already locked into a Saturday night clash in the America East Championships against UMBC at 8:30 p.m.
However, in spite of a 56-49 loss to the same team that broke the hearts of Seawolves fans at Island Federal Credit Union Arena in a 60-58 loss on Jan. 29, Stony Brook has reason for optimism heading into the America East quarterfinals.
Stony Brook’s two leading scorers during conference play heading into the game against the Hawks contest were senior Proctor and junior Brittany Snow, who had accounted for an average of 25.5 points per game. Against Hartford, the duo went four for 21 from the field, for 12 points in the loss.
It was the worst performance for the duo in conference play, the next lowest point total being 14, again against Hartford. Yet, the Seawolves hung tough in a tough opponent’s gym, pushing the game until the waning moments, when free throws by the Hawks sealed the deal.
One may wonder why the struggle of two of Stony Brook’s best players in the last game of the regular season provides reason for optimism, but it is simple. Hartford is the only team that the Seawolves’ forwards have mightily struggled against this season, and it is highly unlikely that they will see the Hawks again.
There is no reason to expect the duo to falter again, especially if the Seawolves should eventually find themselves against Albany in the semifinals, which they played great basketball against in ending the Great Danes’ 30-game road America East winning streak.
In the loss, sophomores Bayne-Walker, Scognamiglio and senior Jessica Ogunnorin all reached double digits, as they totaled 12, 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Even though Proctor struggled from the field, she crashed the boards nonetheless, snatching 10 rebounds on the game.