With junior guard Kori Bayne-Walker making her first start since Jan. 6 after going down with an injury earlier this year, Stony Brook had the healthiest lineup in months, as the Seawolves sought an upset victory against rival Albany. But the scene did not have a perfect ending, as the Seawolves lost their third straight game, falling to the Great Danes 62-49 on Wednesday night.
“We kind of have a mentality of a faceless opponent,” Stony Brook head coach Caroline McCombs said. “[Albany is] a tough team to play. They battle, they rebound and they exploit your weaknesses, because they’re one of the top teams in the conference.”
Early on, it looked like a repeat of the team’s last matchup, a game in Albany that the Great Danes won handily. Stony Brook took a 3-2 lead 22 seconds into the first quarter, but Albany took control of the rest of the game. Three minutes into the second quarter, the Great Danes’ lead was up to 10.
“They were always able to go make a run on us,” McCombs said. “We couldn’t stop their little runs that they were making. As we would make a run, they would make their run as well.”
Stony Brook would not cut the deficit to more than five points in the second half.
The real game was played on the boards. In the first half, Albany held a 17-9 rebounding advantage. Every Great Dane that played in the first half — from 5-foot-6 senior guard Erin Coughlin to 6-foot-3 sophomore forward Tiana-Jo Carter — grabbed a rebound.
Stony Brook struggled the most with offensive rebounding. Junior guard Christa Scognamiglio was the only player in the first half to grab a board off of the offensive glass, but she could not turn it into second-chance points.
By the end of the night, the Great Danes had grabbed 34 rebounds to the Seawolves’ 22.
Albany’s tough defense made it difficult for Stony Brook to score. The Great Danes used a full-court press, pressuring the Seawolves’ ball handlers as they attempted to make their way up court. This caused Stony Brook to rush through offensive sets and settle for contested jumpers.
“We had a slow start, again,” McCombs said. “That has been our Achilles’ heel for the last few ball games.”
While Stony Brook struggled as a team, sophomore guard Aaliyah Worley played well. She was hot from the 3-point range in the second quarter, scoring two from the corner. The Philadelphia native added eight points in the second half, leading the team with 14 in the game.
“They took away [senior forward] Brittany [Snow] in the middle,” McCombs said, “so that’s why Aaliyah [Worley] was open under the basket all those times.”
Snow added eight points and five rebounds, but exited the game after falling hard as she went for a rebound three minutes into the fourth quarter. She went to the bench and sat out the rest of the quarter.
Stony Brook continues its home stand on Feb. 20 with a game against Maine, a team tied for first in the America East. The Seawolves will look to avenge its 55-52 loss to the Black Bears last month in its final home game of the year.