Junior forward India Pagan jumps to throw the ball in the basket at the Stony Brook women’s basketball home opener on Friday, Nov. 8. On Thursday’s home win against Iona, she scored 12 points in the first quarter of the game. SARA RUBERG/THE STATESMAN

In a strong outing on both sides of the ball, the Stony Brook women’s basketball team defeated the Iona Gaels by a final score of 59-40 on Thursday, Nov. 21. With the win, the Seawolves improve to 4-1 on the season, while the Gaels fall to 1-3.

The game got off to a slow start for the Seawolves, as the team combined for only five total points in the first quarter on 2-18 shooting from the field for only 11%. Stony Brook’s defense managed to limit Iona to nine points in the quarter. the Seawolves had room to get right back into the game with a strong second-half showing. Led by junior forward India Pagan’s 12 points in the quarter, the team’s production increased dramatically. Their shooting went up to 11-16, 68.8% from the field, as the team dropped a total of 24 points in the quarter. 

The second half saw the Seawolves keep the defensive pressure on the Gaels, as Iona scored 19 and 11 points in the third and fourth quarters, respectively. The Seawolves, for the game, outscored Iona off turnovers, of which the Seawolves forced 22 with 12 steals, in the paint and in fast breaks, as well as off the bench. 

“First [quarter] was iffy,” graduate transfer guard Kaela Hilaire said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. Hilaire finished the night with 10 points, five steals and four assists. “We picked it up in the second half. Definitely picked it up on the defensive end and made us the offense obviously easier to score.”

“Yeah, we really wanted to ignite our offense with our defense and so we weren’t running in transition,” head coach Caroline McCombs told The Statesman in a postgame interview. “Like, we know that we can convert, whether that’s from a rebound to a basket or a turnover to a basket so I think that’s how we got going, just getting stops on defense and converting that into offense.”

The win tonight comes off the team’s first loss of the season, which they suffered against the #23 ranked SEC powerhouse Arkansas on the road. But the team isn’t sweating the loss and were happy to get back out in front of their home crowd.

“It was kind of a — definitely could have been a closer game,” said Pagan, who finished her night with 18 points and three steals. “We could have battled with them more but we just forget about that game, move on to the next and just worry about our next opponent.”

The Seawolves are right back in action Sunday, Nov. 24, at 2 p.m. at the Island Federal Credit Union Arena, as they host Sacred Heart Pioneers.

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