The Stony Brook Women’s Basketball team, riding a school-record nine-game winning streak, looked for a statement victory on the road against Albany on Thursday night.
Great Danes junior guard Imani Tate had different plans, contributing 29 points off the bench for Albany as Stony Brook fell to its conference rival, 73-54. The Seawolves are now 13-6 overall and 5-1 in America East conference play with the loss.
“She just came off ball screens and she was knocking down shots,” Stony Brook head coach Caroline McCombs said of Tate. “Our guards were working hard to contest all of her shots, she was just knocking them down tonight.”
Tate, who entered the game as the second-ranked scorer in the America East, averaging 17.5 points per game, was a force particularly in the middle two quarters. She scored 15 points in the second quarter and 10 more in the third.
The Seawolves held their own against the four-time defending conference champion Albany early on, as junior guard Christa Scognamiglio trimmed the Great Danes lead to 16-14 with 8:20 remaining in the first half. From there, Albany put on an offensive clinic, closing out the second quarter on a 22-9 run, shooting 9-for-13 from the field during the stretch.
“I think we competed in spurts,” McCombs said. “We didn’t compete the whole way and we let them do some easy things to score some baskets. They shot a high percentage, grabbed a lot of offensive rebounds. Some of those little things we need to tighten up.”
The rebounding margin, a 38-22 advantage for Albany, was due in large part to Stony Brook freshman forward Ogechi Anyagaligbo getting into foul trouble. Anyagaligbo, who entered the game leading the Seawolves with 10.1 rebounds per game, committed her third foul on a charge midway through the second quarter. Due to the foul trouble, Anyagaligbo played only 23 minutes in the game, her lowest total of the season.
“Any time one of our post players gets in foul trouble it hurts on the glass,” McCombs said. “I left her in there and thought she could play through the two fouls [in the second quarter], but she wasn’t able to do that.”
Stony Brook missed her presence, as Anyagaligbo was the team’s most effective offensive player, shooting 7-for-8 from the field for 14 points.
Senior forward Brittany Snow had a productive game for the Seawolves, as she scored a team-high 16 points on offense, including six in the first quarter. On the other end of the floor, the Stony Brook captain played strong defense on Albany senior forward Shereesha Richards.
Richards, a two-time America East Player of the Year, was limited to 16 points, well below her season average of 24.1 points per game.
Junior guard Zakiya Saunders did well facilitating the basketball from the point guard position for the Great Danes. She dished out 13 assists in the game, a career-high, as Saunders was able to beat Stony Brook by finding the open player off of screens from her forwards. Saunders added 10 points in the game for a double-double.
On the other end of the floor, Stony Brook freshman guard Davion Wingate also set a career-best in assists, as she recorded nine. Wingate filled in at point guard for junior Kori Bayne Walker, who has been sidelined with injury.
Although she performed well as a playmaker for others, Wingate herself struggled from the floor, shooting just 3-for-14 in the contest.
“It’s the first time that two freshmen on our team (Anyagaligbo and Wingate) have ever started and played against Albany,” McCombs said. “I think looking back on this game, we need to not start on square one, but really evaluate it and show them the positive things.”
Next on the docket for the Seawolves is a trip to Orono, Maine, for a Sunday afternoon game against the Maine Black Bears, perhaps the strongest conference opponent for Stony Brook other than Albany.
Maine, voted to finish second in the conference by the preseason America East Coaches’ Poll, is tied for Stony Brook for second place in the conference with a 5-1 record. The Black Bears, who were America East regular season co-champions last season, are led by junior guard Sigi Koizar, who is averaging 16.9 points per game this season.