There was a shot to win in regulation — a few shots, to be exact. They couldn’t be converted however, and the Stony Brook women’s basketball team wouldn’t find another in overtime. In an affair filled with potential momentum-turning chances for Stony Brook (25-2, 13-1), they simply missed their shot and fell to the Maine Black Bears (14-14, 10-4) in a 64-62 OT shocker on Sunday, Feb. 23 at the Cross Insurance Center.
The Seawolves have been down against numerous competitive America East teams throughout the season, and this game seemed no different. Stony Brook had escaped close battles recently against Vermont, Binghamton and New Hampshire, but always found a way to come out on top. Their late-game magic finally ran out.
“Throughout the course of the game there were a lot of possessions I think that we gave away,” head coach Caroline McCombs said in a press release. “Some forced or unforced turnovers that I wish we could get back. Credit to Maine, they did a good job of hunting threes today. They were knocking them down when they needed them.”
Stony Brook led 17-14 after the first quarter. What became apparent was Maine’s strategy to beat the Seawolves beyond the arc. The Black Bears attempted 17 threes, making only four of them in the first half in a strategy that proved wholly ineffective at the onset.
After a very slow second quarter on offense for both teams, with a combined 14 points scored, Maine’s long-range strategy would finally prove effective in the second half. The Black Bears would go 5-of-9 from beyond the arc, including two consecutive makes early in the fourth quarter that stretched their lead to 11. The hole was one of the biggest the Seawolves have faced in the fourth quarter this season.
Then, Stony Brook woke up. The Seawolves whittled the Black Bears’ lead down to two behind stellar defense that only allowed three more points for the rest of the fourth and provided a few key steals. Graduate forward Cheyenne Clark’s late layup drew the score to 55-53 and with a subsequent turnover by Maine, Stony Brook had a shot.
The Seawolves missed. However, Clark saved the day again with a clutch offensive rebound off of sophomore guard Anastasia Warren’s miss, and she was fouled on a wild shot to the rim. Clark needed to make both shots to send the game to overtime and managed the first confidently. Her second shot went off the rim and sent both teams in a wild scramble that ended with Clark being sent to the line again.
This time, she could win it all. Unfortunately, a quick miss on the first shot ended that hope, but Clark would hit a heart-pounding second shot to send the game to overtime.
Stony Brook found themselves in a deficit again in the extra period, but this time they would not be allowed the same concessions as they were near the end of the fourth. Clark would try her best to tie the game again, but felt short as she headed to the rim on a layup that bounced away harmlessly with 1:11 left. A Maine jumper on the next possession gave Stony Brook a 4-point deficit and junior forward India Pagan countered with a layup to cut it to two with under a minute left. The Black Bears dribbled down the court contently letting the clock tick down, and the Seawolves did not do much to stop them.
There were no late heroics this time for Stony Brook. Maine would run out the clock and run away with one of the biggest upsets the America East has seen this season.
The Seawolves had their 22-game win streak snapped along with a 13-game conference streak. Stony Brook had not lost a game since a 88-58 blowout against a then-ranked Arkansas team 98 days ago. Pagan led the Seawolves in points with 15 while Maine redshirt-senior guard Maddy McVicar had a career-high of 28. This loss comes just after the Seawolves clinched first-place in the America East with their win against the Vermont Catamounts.
Stony Brook will hope to bounce back in their final two games of the regular season against the Hartford Hawks on Wednesday, Feb. 26 in Chase Arena at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 29 against the Albany Great Danes at 12:30 p.m.