What was once a 22-game winning streak has now spiraled into a 2-game losing skid — in the worst way possible.
Less than a week ago, the Stony Brook women’s basketball team was on top of the college basketball world, garnering votes in the AP Poll and national attention for the longest string of victories in the country.
Taking on a winless Hartford Hawks team — the only winless team in both Division I men’s and women’s basketball — should have been a nice bounceback after the Seawolves saw their streak snapped on Sunday in Maine. Instead, Stony Brook (25-3, 13-2) dropped their second consecutive game in unfathomable fashion, losing 70-67 as Hartford (1-28, 1-15) picked up their first victory of the year in their final game of the season on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at Chase Arena.
Dating back to last season, the Hawks had lost 30 games in a row. In fact, the last time the Hawks had a final score within a basket of their opponent was on Jan. 5 against New Hampshire. With one last opportunity to avoid a winless season, Hartford gave Stony Brook their best effort, and as the Seawolves weathered the absence of junior forward India Pagan, it was enough to complete the improbable upset.
With junior forward McKenzie Bushee starting in Pagan’s place, Stony Brook would put up 34 points in the first half behind a trio of players with eight points: junior guards Hailey Zeise and Victoria Johnson and redshirt-junior forward Oksana Gouchie-Provencher.
The story of the first half was not who led the team in scoring however, but who failed to do much offensively. The normal offensive contributors, graduate guards Kaela Hilaire and Cheyenne Clark and sophomore guard Anastasia Warren, all combined for just eight points in the first half. In the end, despite the trio’s scoring resurgence in the second half, it was this that doomed Stony Brook to fail.
The starting trio certainly did not score much due to a lack of trying. Hilaire went 3-of-11 from the floor (1-for-4 from three), Warren went 2-of-8 (0-of-4 from three), and Clark went 1-of-3. All of their performances helped doom the Seawolves to an inefficient second half (14-of-40, 35%).
While Stony Brook did come back from as much as 16 down in the second quarter, even taking a 7-point lead with 8:42 left in the game, it still would not be enough. Warren was given a final chance to tie the game, but her three missed its aim.
“We came into Hartford and just didn’t have our best game,” head coach Caroline McCombs said in a press release. “I think as we move forward with our Senior Day and one game left in the conference season, it’s going to be really important that we regroup and stay committed to each other and all of the voices that we have in the locker room.”
Pagan will probably miss the next game — senior night against Albany — due to injury as she is resting her ailment for the America East playoffs. Despite two straight losses, Stony Brook remains the number one seed.
On a positive note for the Seawolves, Bushee put up a double-double with ten points and 11 rebounds along with three steals and a block on the night. Her performance was formidable stepping in for Pagan.
The Seawolves will hope to achieve their first win in ten calendar days against the Albany Great Danes (9-19, 5-10) on Senior Day/Alumnae Day, Saturday, Feb. 29 at 12:30 p.m in Island Federal Arena. Only three players are graduating for Stony Brook: senior forward Kyra Dixon, Clark, and Hilaire.