Stony Brook Women’s Basketball fell 81-70 to the undefeated No. 25-ranked Syracuse Orange in a thrilling overtime match-up on Sunday afternoon. This marks Stony Brook’s second-straight loss after starting the season with a program-best 5-0 record since being in Division I.
In overtime, Syracuse burst through early, with five points in the period’s first two minutes to take the lead. Syracuse widened its lead in the paint, where two straight layups allowed for the team to go up 78-70, and ultimately win the game.
Despite the loss, head coach Caroline McCombs believes the game was a great experience builder for her team.
“I thought our team really responded well today, we got down early and fought back to make it a ballgame,” McCombs said in a press release. “Syracuse is going to be an excellent team in the ACC and we were right there with them until the end. There are a lot of takeaways from this game. Closing out a game on an opponent’s home floor will be very important for us as we move forward in the season.”
The two teams came into the final quarter of regulation tied up at 55. Back-and-forth play ensued as redshirt-junior guard Isis Young nailed a three-pointer to bring Syracuse in front. With just under 1:30 left in regulation, junior guard Shania Johnson, who led Stony Brook with 21 points, nailed a three-pointer to put Stony Brook up by five. After a defensive board on the next possession, sophomore guard Giolibeth Perez went to the line, looking to seal the victory for Stony Brook.
Perez missed both free throws and Syracuse took possession where sophomore guard Tiana Mangakahia put up a layup to keep her team within three points. Syracuse then fouled Johnson, where she went one-for-two from the line. Mangakahia scored another layup to keep her team within two with 30 seconds left in the match-up. Syracuse forced a five-second violation as Stony Brook attempted to inbound the ball, giving the Orange an opportunity to tie the match-up.
With time winding down, Mangakahia drove down the lane and made her third consecutive layup in three straight Orange possessions with three seconds left. This would send the game into overtime tied at 69, where the Seawolves went on to lose.
Stony Brook started off the game at a slow pace, allowing Syracuse to take a 15-0 lead in the game’s first four minutes. At the end of the quarter, Stony Brook was down 24-11, along with shooting 31 percent from the field.
The Seawolves found a way to shift the momentum with the help of freshman forward McKenzie Bushee and junior guard Jerell Matthews. The pair combined for 19 of the Seawolves’ 23 total points in the quarter, erasing the deficit set by the Orange and going into the locker room with a 34-32 lead.
Matthews finished the game with a total of 13 points and eight rebounds. Bushee finished with 14 points, six boards and a team-best 78 percent shooting performance from the field.
The Seawolves defense held strong to complement its offensive outburst. Stony Brook did not allow a single Syracuse point in eight minutes throughout the second quarter.
Stony Brook maintained an advantage on the glass throughout the game, and finished with 11 more rebounds than Syracuse. The team’s 15 offensive rebounds allowed them to score 16 second chance points. Six of the offensive boards came from Bushee.
The second half saw more back-and-forth action, where the two teams traded the lead a total of six times in the third quarter. Young gave Syracuse its first lead of the second half with her three-point performance. She drained three consecutive threes on three Syracuse possessions and finished the game with 12 points and four three-pointers.
With the loss, Stony Brook has now lost its past two match-ups, falling to a record of 5-2. The team returns home to the Island Federal Credit Union Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 6 to take on the Yale Bulldogs at 7 p.m.