Stony Brook Women’s Basketball was down 66-63 with 0:13 left to play in the first overtime period of Wednesday night’s match-up against Yale. Coming off a 30-second timeout, the Seawolves knew they would have to score three or they would pick up their third straight loss. The ball came inbounds and made its way to senior guard Aaliyah Worley, who found sharpshooting junior guard Jerell Matthews open behind the arc. Matthews grabbed the pass and took her shot.
The shot came down through the net, sending the game into a second overtime period. Unfortunately for Stony Brook, a second shot at extra time didn’t do the trick, and the Seawolves ultimately fell to the Bulldogs 77-71.
“Yale has a very good team, they can score inside and out,” head coach Caroline McCombs said in a press release. “They really looked to attack our posts tonight and were effective.”
Wednesday’s game was a neck-and-neck battle through all 50 minutes of action. Both teams combined for 18 lead changes and 12 ties before the final buzzer, and neither squad ever led by more than seven points.
The Seawolves dominated the backboard throughout the night, pulling down 49 rebounds, their second-highest total this season, for a +13 advantage on the boards. Stony Brook also had four different players score in double digits – Matthews led the team with 16 points, while Worley and junior guard Shania Johnson each scored 13.
Seawolves junior forward Cheyenne Clark’s performance was the biggest bright spot for the team in the loss. Clark’s 12 points included a clutch layup that tied the game at the end of regulation, while her presence under the basket almost single-handedly gave Stony Brook the advantage in rebounds. She grabbed a program-record 23 rebounds to secure her second double-double in five games.
Clark’s tenacity on the boards, however, could not make up for Yale’s defensive aggression or the offense it created. The Bulldogs forced 27 Seawolves turnovers and turned them into 27 points on the other end with a potent transition offense.
After the game, McCombs praised her team’s effort but acknowledged its shortcomings in maintaining possession.
“I thought we competed at a high level again, but we have to do a better job of taking care of ourselves,” McCombs said in a press release. “Ball security and making free throws will remain a high priority for our team as we move forward.”
Yale’s ability to jump in passing lanes and snatch away the ball dampened the impact of Stony Brook’s passing game. The Seawolves had five turnovers in overtime versus just three assists, stifling offensive possessions that could have otherwise resulted in points for Stony Brook.
On paper, the Seawolves were dominant on perimeter defense, holding the Bulldogs to 26 percent shooting from behind the arc for the game. While Yale went 2-11 from deep in the first half, the team hit four three-point shots in the third quarter, helping them put up 24 in the frame to erase the five-point lead Stony Brook held at the half.
Bulldogs senior forward Jen Berkowitz was a force to be reckoned with on offense, scoring 26 points on 50 percent shooting from the floor. Berkowitz scored 10 of Yale’s 19 overtime points, and came just three points short of outscoring Stony Brook as a team in extra time.
Wednesday’s loss drops the Seawolves’ overall record to 5-3. Stony Brook has now lost three straight games after starting the season 5-0 for the first time in program history.
The Seawolves will hit the road for their next match-up, when they play Northwestern on Sunday, Dec. 10 in Evanston, Illinois. Tipoff against the Wildcats is set for 12 p.m.