By almost any measure, Stony Brook junior guard Jerell Matthews had her worst performance of the season so far in the team’s Sunday afternoon road matchup against Fairleigh Dickinson.
Four personal fouls limited Matthews to just 25 minutes in the game. She had five points and three field goal attempts in the first half before going the entire second half without a field goal, committing two turnovers per half along the way.
All four of Matthews’ second-half points came from the free-throw line, but her final points of the afternoon were the most important the Seawolves scored all game.
Stony Brook surrendered four unanswered points on free throws after junior forward Cheyenne Clark hit a layup, cutting the Seawolves’ lead to 50-49 with 33 seconds left to play. Matthews was fouled nine seconds later, and her perfect performance at the line gave the Seawolves their decisive points in the team’s 56-51 win over the Knights at the Rothman Center in Hackensack, New Jersey.
After the game, head coach Caroline McCombs praised her team for coming out on top in its first challenging game of the season.
“FDU is a very well coached team,” McCombs said in a press release. “They execute offensively and really keep you off balance on the defensive end. I was proud of our team today, in a close ball game, to find a way to win on the road.”
The win over Fairleigh Dickinson improves Stony Brook’s overall record to 3-0 to start the season, the first time the team has remained undefeated through three games in Division I play. The Knights’ overall record falls to 3-1 on the season.
Neither team managed to find much of a rhythm shooting the basketball. The Seawolves’ 38 percent shooting effort was their worst of the season, though the team still held an edge over the Knights and their 35 percent performance.
While Stony Brook surrendered 14 points off 18 turnovers and were outscored off the bench 17-7, the team held a crucial advantage on the fastbreak. Eight steals, coupled with the speedy play of junior point guard Shania Johnson and sophomore point guard Giolibeth Perez, helped the team dominate in transition. Stony Brook scored 15 fastbreak points, and held Fairleigh Dickinson to just two.
Johnson was the only Stony Brook player to hit double digits, scoring a season-high 23 points and hitting all of the team’s five three-pointers. Johnson also grabbed six rebounds, second on the team behind Clark, and tied Perez for a team-high four assists.
The game was a far cry from Stony Brook’s first two matchups of the season against Manhattan and Hofstra, in which the Seawolves scored 147 total points and held the lead in all eight quarters.
Sunday’s game featured a combined 15 ties and nine lead changes. Defense won the day early, both teams ended the first quarter with just nine points each and no team scored more than 16 in a quarter. The Seawolves met their match on the backboards, tying the Knights with 39 total rebounds after out-rebounding the Jaspers and the Pride by a combined 19 boards.
After going perfect over the two-game road trip, Stony Brook will return home to take on Farmingdale State on Wednesday, Nov. 22. Tipoff is set for 12 p.m.