Bouncing back from a lackluster 14-point second half in its regular season opener at Iona, the Stony Brook women’s basketball team bucketed 41 points in the second half of its home opener against Hofstra. However, the team was not able to pick up the victory, as, on the heels of clutch free throw shooting, the Pride left Island Federal Credit Union Arena with a 67-64 win on Monday night.
Hofstra’s junior forward Ashunae Durant lead the way in scoring for both teams, putting up 20 points on 50 percent shooting from the field. She also added nine rebounds and four blocks.
Senior forward Elizabeth Manner led the way for the Seawolves, scoring 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting to couple six rebounds.
“I thought that we played two halves,” head coach Caroline McCombs said. “We just couldn’t get stops. At the end, that was the biggest thing. When we needed to get stops, we weren’t able to do that on the defensive end, and we were playing from behind.”
After Manner hit a three to tie the game at 45 with just under eight minutes to play, senior guard Krystal Luciano responded with a three of her own, giving Hofstra a 48-45 edge. From that point on, the Pride never relinquished its lead.
After the 7:45 mark in the fourth quarter, Hofstra went 7-11 from the free throw line. While Stony Brook was able to cut the lead down to one point on three separate occasions, Hofstra’s free throws kept falling.
Manner has led the team in scoring the first two games of the season, scoring a career-high 13 points at Iona. She surpassed that total Monday night and attributes her hot start to the season to her guards.
“I would say my biggest strength has come from my guards,” Manner said. “I play with four really good guards who make my life easier for me. They get me easy layups.”
In a team marked by its guard depth, McCombs is pleasantly surprised by the forward’s offensive production.
“I think that she’s found her place within our offense,” McCombs said about Manner. “She’s done a tremendous job of really finding the open area to get a dump down pass when she’s open for three. I think because of how we are trying to attack the basket, her defender helps off a lot. And because she’s able to make that 15-foot jump shot, she becomes a lot more difficult to guard.”
Junior guard Lauren Williams contributed with 14 points, 10 of those points coming from the free throw line. Senior guard Kori Bayne-Walker knocked down 11 points and dished out five assists.
Stony Brook takes on the No. 13 Syracuse Orange Friday night at 7 p.m. at Island Federal Credit Union Arena. Syracuse went to the national championship game last season in the NCAA Women’s College Basketball Championship, where the team lost to the UConn Huskies.