For the second year in a row, the Stony Brook Women’s Basketball team went into the state of Pennsylvania and knocked off a Power 5 team.
Pittsburgh natives, junior guard/forward Hailey Zeise and junior forward McKenzie Bushee led the Seawolves (8-1) to a 59-56 victory on Sunday, Dec. 8 against the University of Pittsburgh Panthers (3-6), in their hometown.
The win marked the program’s second ever victory against a Power 5 team. Last year, Stony Brook went into Happy Valley and defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions.
“I’m so proud of our team today. We talked about doing the dirty hard work on the court and I believe we did just that,” Stony Brook head coach Caroline McCombs said in a press release. “Playing in Pittsburgh was special for this group and I love how we competed at a high level. This one was for Hailey and Kenzie!”
Zeise made sure to leave it all on the floor, staying on the court for all 40 minutes of play. She led the team with 17 points to go along with four rebounds and four assists. With Zeise playing the whole game, McCombs had some leeway with how many players she needed to sub in and out.
Bushee once again came off the bench, as she has all season, and provided the team with some hometown energy, scoring 10 points on the night for her first double digit scoring game of the season.
While the Pitt. natives balled out, graduate guard Kaela Hilaire joined Zeise in playing all 40 minutes. Hilaire finished the night with 11 points, five assists and a steal. Aside from leading the team up and down the court on every possession, Hilaire sealed the victory by hitting the second of two free throws with seconds left in the game to put the Seawolves up by three. She hit 7-11 free throws on the night.
The Seawolves entered the fourth quarter up 47-34, but the Panthers slowly attempted to mount a comeback. With 4:22 remaining, Pitt. redshirt-senior guard Aysia Bugg knocked down a three pointer that sparked a 12-4 run, helping the Panthers cut the deficit to two points with just 0:11 remaining in the fourth. Following Hilaire’s made free throw, Pitt. had a chance to bring the ball up the court and attempt a good shot, but due to poor judgement they were forced to heave a three pointer as time expired.
Stony Brook is off to another hot start to the season and will look to continue their winning ways when they take on the Wagner University Seahawks. The Seawolves head to the Spiro Sports Center in Staten Island on Sunday, Dec. 15 with tip set for 1 p.m.