At the conclusion of Sunday’s first half, junior guard Lauren Williams stole the ball, ran forward two steps and uncorked an errant half-court heave toward the basket. The ball landed on the baseline with six seconds remaining on the second-quarter clock. The Stony Brook guard rested her hands on her head in disbelief, as she had apparently mistaken the game clock for the expiring play clock of Binghamton’s previous possession.
It was that sort of game for the Stony Brook Women’s Basketball offense, whose six-game home winning streak was snapped as Binghamton took the matinée, 48-40.
“For whatever reason, we just couldn’t pass or catch very well,” head coach Caroline McCombs said. “Credit Binghamton with their defense. We just really struggled… Even in our transition game, we couldn’t just pass and catch in our lanes or score easy baskets.”
Scoring was scarce for Stony Brook in the opening half in particular, as the team notched 10 points, its worst output in a half this season. The team shot 3-for-21 from the field, missing all nine of its three-point attempts. The Seawolves committed 14 turnovers in that time, as assistant coach Dan Rickard’s face reddened with frustration.
Junior center Alyssa James, the reigning America East Defensive Player of the Year, roamed the interior of the Bearcats’ 2-3 zone, her lankiness denying any driving lanes for the Stony Brook offense. The defensive scheme was also run against the Seawolves by Hartford in the previous game, deeming the offense ineffective in each case.
“We were just out-of-sync,” McCombs said.
Binghamton’s offense had also faltered to that point, though not quite as dramatically. The Bearcats scored 20 points on their 40 first-half possessions. Their 10-point halftime margin seemed modest given an absent Seawolves offense.
But in the third quarter, the deficit quickly swelled to 18. Binghamton took a 38-20 advantage behind the efforts of sophomore guard Jasmine Sina, who led all players with 15 points in the game. Sina made four three-point field goals on the afternoon.
Entering the final quarter of play, the Stony Brook program record for fewest points in a game — 30, set in 2011 against Seton Hall — seemed more in reach than the win, but the Seawolves bench unit had other ideas.
Sophomore guard Jerell Matthews scored seven of her career-best 15 points in the fourth quarter, helping her team cut the lead to as few as five points. The late offense was too little to overcome the preceding basket-making woes, however, as Binghamton was able to close out a victory.
“For Jerell, she’s somebody that has continued to get better at practice,” McCombs said. “We’ve continued to get her more minutes… We’re working on getting her into that scoring mentality.”
Stony Brook’s defense, which entered the contest as the second-ranked unit in the America East, played well, particularly against Binghamton junior guard Imani Watkins, the conference’s leading scorer with 19.6 points per game.
Watkins was primarily defended by Stony Brook junior guard Christa Scognamiglio, who held her to seven points on 1-for-8 shooting and six turnovers.
On Thursday night against Hartford, with Stony Brook leading by four early in the third quarter, sophomore guard Davion Wingate streaked across the court to score a fast-break layup, good for two of her game-high 23 points.
While the Hawks answered with two points of their own, Scognamiglio scored a layup of her own to increase the margin.
With a six-point lead, the largest advantage the Seawolves would hold, Stony Brook upsetting the No. 2 team in the America East conference seemed likely. But the Seawolves soon fell apart, as the Hawks soared to win Thursday night’s game, 65-52.
Stony Brook only scored once after Scognamiglio’s layup. In the final six minutes of the quarter, Stony Brook shot an icy cold 1-for-6 from the field.
The cold streak continued into the fourth quarter as the Seawolves shot 5-for-17 from the field. The scoring came from the backcourt as Scognamiglio and Worley both hit shots from behind the arc while Wingate and freshman guard Giolibeth Perez showed off their speed, scoring on consecutive fast breaks. However, it was not enough as Hartford built a double-digit lead throughout the period.
After facing a nine-point deficit, in thanks to an 11-0 run they allowed early in the first quarter, the Seawolves had to claw their way back to contention. Senior forward Elizabeth Manner found a cutting Wingate to close Hartford’s lead to seven. Scognamiglio swiped the ball and passed it to senior guard Kori Bayne-Walker, who laid the ball up and put the game within five.
Sophomore center Ayshia Baker scored in the paint after missing a layup earlier and senior forward Anamaria Skaro hit a free throw to make it a two-point deficit. While a Hartford free throw extended the Hawks’ lead to three, it looked like the momentum was on the Seawolves’ side going into the second quarter.
But after sitting out most of the first quarter due to picking up two quick fouls, the Hawks’ leading scorer, guard Deanna Mayza, took control of the game as soon as the second quarter started. She powered through a foul to score a layup and knocked down the ensuing free throw.
On the next possession, Skaro answered with a three from the corner to make it a three-point game once again. The two teams battled until junior guard Aaliyah Worley hit a shot from downtown to give the Seawolves a one-point game, their first lead since the first few minutes of the game. Stony Brook closed out the first half with pace, scoring four fast break points in the last minute and a half of the second quarter.
Stony Brook will look to rebound when the team goes on a road trip to Baltimore this week. The Seawolves will face the UMBC Retrievers on Wednesday afternoon at 12 p.m.