Iona freshman guard Shyan Mwai managed to get off two shots in the final 10 seconds. Either one would have forced an overtime if they found their way into the hoop, but both fell short. The near misses avoided a major upset for the Stony Brook women’s basketball team, who extended its winning streak to nine straight after a 53-51 victory on the road against Iona on Tuesday, Dec. 11.
The Seawolves had to survive without big minutes from two of their top point scorers this season. Sophomore forward India Pagan did not play at all in the game, and senior guard Shania Johnson sat out the second quarter. During that span, the Gaels had their highest positive scoring margin, outscoring the Seawolves 20-11 and erasing an eight-point deficit.
The majority of the workload on offense fell to senior guard Jerell Matthews, and Matthews responded with one of her best performances of the season. She scored 22 points on 7-16 shooting while picking up a season-high eight rebounds and six steals. Eleven of her 22 points came in a third quarter run where the Seawolves retook the lead for good, and were powered by three long balls from beyond the arc.
The offensive surge in the third quarter put Stony Brook back on top by eight, but Iona never went away. The Gaels closed the game out on a 14-8 run, and came just short on Mwai’s back-to-back misses. Redshirt-sophomore forward Oksana Gouchie-Provencher had an opportunity to ice the game for Stony Brook, but missed two free throws with 11 seconds left to give Iona the last second chance.
“We haven’t been in a ton of close games so I think that we really just tried to stay focused,” head coach Caroline McCombs said in a press release. “It started on our defense trying to get some stops. I’m glad that we had this adverse situation on the road and were able to come out on top.”
The two-point margin of victory was tied for the closest win the Seawolves have had on their nine game run, matching the two point victory at home against Cornell on Dec. 4. Every other game has been decided by double digits, included the season opener the Seawolves dropped to Rutgers back on Nov. 9.
Stony Brook will head back home for its next match, where they will play four of their next five games. Their first opponent is Wagner, coming into Island Federal Arena on Dec. 15 at 2 p.m.