Stony Brook Women’s Basketball had outscored its opponents by an average of 29 points entering its game against the Penn State Lady Lions on Sunday, Nov. 25. They were considered the underdog playing against a Big Ten team, a conference in which they were 0-10 against in program history. However, the Seawolves overcame their reputation and earned the 81-70 victory for the first time over a Big Ten opponent in program history.
Stony Brook took an early lead off a layup by senior guard Jerell Matthews that it would not relinquish for the rest of the game. Matthews sparked a 13-5 run that she capped off with a layup and forced a Penn State timeout early in the first quarter. The senior guard gifted the Seawolves with an impressive performance on both sides of the court for her birthday, finishing with 18 points and a team-leading eight rebounds.
Matthews excelled offensively alongside her fellow senior guard America East Player of the Week Shania ‘Shorty’ Johnson. Johnson knocked down five three-point shots in the first half, with her fifth giving Stony Brook a 39-17 lead. The Seawolves extended their lead to 24 points and finished the first half up 43-21, earning the largest lead over a Big Ten Conference foe in team history.
Penn State was determined to mount a comeback, something the team had successfully done in its four victories this season. The Lady Lions shot 69 percent from the field and connected on all seven off their free throws in the third quarter.
Penn State senior guard Teniya Page kept the team involved with a dominant offensive performance in the second half. Page was matched up against Matthews throughout the contest, something fitting considering both played a role in the 2013 Marian Catholic Spartans Illinois State Championship. The duo battled back and forth for scoring dominance, but Page led the game by scoring 34 of the Lady Lions’ 70 total points on 54 percent shooting.
Page successfully scored off a layup through the contact by Matthews and made the free throw to cut the deficit to 58-44 at the end of the third.
The Lady Lions carried the momentum into the fourth quarter by cutting the Seawolves’ lead to eight points, forcing an early timeout call. Johnson shook her team out of its four-minute scoreless drought by hitting a jump shot in the paint to put them up by double digits. She iced the game by knocking down both free throws to close out the contest.
Johnson led Stony Brook with 25 points, with 18 of them coming off 3-pointers. She is averaging over 17 points per game and has a three-point shooting percentage of a little over 35 percent through her first five games. Sophomore forward India Pagan had a career-high 14 points during the victory.
Stony Brook will enter its two-game homestand on a four-game win streak for the second consecutive year. The Seawolves will begin against the New Paltz Hawks in the Island Federal Credit Union Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m.