The Stony Brook women’s basketball team had a chance to do what its male counterparts did on Jan. 8, when the men’s basketball team went on a 21-0 run to close out its game against Albany and win in dramatic fashion.
Fast forward to Saturday afternoon, and the ingredients were all there for a huge Seawolves huge comeback. They were down by double digits throughout the game, but put on mini runs during the second half.
However, the Great Danes torched the Seawolves with 54 points in the paint and blew them out 75-57 at Island Federal Credit Union Arena.
“We got off to a slow start and just never recovered,” head coach Caroline McCombs said. “They just got a lot of things early and took advantage and they never let up.”
Albany started the game out hot, going on a 10-0 run to open the game, and the team never cooled off. The Great Danes shot above 50 percent from the floor in every quarter and ended the day shooting 67 percent. All but one Albany player shot more than 50 percent from the field.
Stony Brook, on the other hand, shot poorly. Excluding the fourth quarter, the team shot below 40 percent from the field. The Seawolves missed all kinds of buckets, from wide open layups in transition to well-defended jump shots. Senior guard Kori Bayne-Walker was one of two Seawolves to create shots with her driving and off the ball movement and was able to shoot the ball at a 67 percent clip.
“I think we really allowed them a lot of easy looks,” McCombs said. “Credit to Albany, they’re good. They do what they do, they get down low and score quick.”
The Great Danes did a majority of their work down low in the paint, outscoring the Seawolves, 54-28. Whenever someone missed a shot, at least two Great Danes frontcourt players would fight for the rebound. The team outrebounded the Seawolves 32-27.
Freshman guard Giolibeth Perez was another of Stony Brook’s bright spots. She put in nine points on four-for-eight shooting, and led the team in assists and steals with five and four respectively.
During the fourth quarter, she was able to help the Seawolves mend the deficit with her play. With 6:58 left in the final frame, she sparked the offense after getting a steal, hit a dribble move on her defender to have her freeze into place, dribbled down the court and hit a spinning layup to avoid getting the charge.
“We had to come back and fight,” McCombs said. “We haven’t gotten down like that in a game before, like we really gave them a lot of easy opportunities.”
Stony Brook looked as if the then four-game slide it has been on did not exist for the first three quarters of Wednesday’s night home game against New Hampshire. But the Wildcats tenacious defense stifled the Seawolves attack, giving them a 56-45 win and sweeping the season series to remain undefeated.
In the fourth quarter, New Hampshire really hunkered down on defense and forced Stony Brook into lower quality shots that wouldn’t fall. While Stony Brook was stifled down on their end of the court, New Hampshire sank their shots going on a 9-0 run that effectively put the game out of reach with a lead as large as 12.
Stony Brook freshman guard Davion Wingate and New Hampshire junior center Carlie Pogue led the way, each scoring 17 points. Pogue’s presence down in the block was a felt all game — on top of being tied for the lead in scoring, she also tacked on seven boards.
“I think they’re the best team in the conference right now, they’re undefeated we were right there with them” McCombs said of the Wildcats. “They made game-winning plays when they needed to, and that’s what we needed to do to get a win tonight.”
With two seconds left in the first half, Bayne-Walker pulled Stony Brook within one with a clutch layup down in the paint. Much like the first game against the best team in the America East conference, Stony Brook had momentum going into the half but the uptempo, guard-oriented offense stalled out.
McCombs’ inner fire came out at one point when the offense was not running a set play. She tried to snap her players into coherence yelling, “Setup! Setup! Setup!”
The Seawolves left points on the board in a game where they were at a premium, going 5-for-12 at the charity stripe. It was well below the team’s season average of 69 percent.
In a tough loss, Stony Brook showed a lot of grit. The team fought for loose balls and played tight, pressing defense. Even when the offense was not generating points, the team’s defense was what kept the game close for a majority of play.
“We talk about being a defensive minded team, that’s the way we’re going to compete in ball games,” McCombs said. “That’s just who we are, that’s never going to change.”
Bayne-Walker had 12 points moving her career total to 934 and, at the other end of the career accomplishment scale, freshman Kina Smith made her first career start for Stony Brook.
The Seawolves will have Sunday off before they head on a two-game conference road trip, and try to find their first win of 2017. Stony Brook will head to Massachusetts to take on UMass-Lowell on Feb. 6 at 7 p.m..