Women’s Basketball head coach Caroline McCombs at a practice during the 2019-2020 season. The team lost to Syracuse with the final score of 50-39 on Nov. 29. SARA RUBERG/STATESMAN FILE

In a tough game against a nationally ranked opponent, the Stony Brook women’s basketball team lost to the No. 23 Syracuse Orange by a final score of 50-39 on Sunday, Nov. 29. 

Coming on the heels of their home opener loss to Fordham, the Seawolves were tasked with taking down a talented Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) team highlighted by the feel-good story of returning Orange redshirt-senior point guard Tiana Mangakahia. Mangakahia suited up for her first game since the 2018-19 season after her successful battle with stage 2 breast cancer.

Mangakahia wasted no time in her return either, dropping a game-high 16 points for the Orange while collecting seven rebounds. Freshman center Kamilla Cardoso and redshirt-senior guard Kiara Lewis added 14 and eight points respectively.

Seawolves junior guard Asiah Dingle played an emotional game following the passing of her father Maurice on Thursday. While junior forward Nairimar Vargas-Reyes, a fellow transfer, led the way with 11 points, Dingle valiantly put up nine more to help her team keep it close against a tough opponent.

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“For Asiah to be able to stay here and play was something she wanted to do,” head coach Caroline McCombs said in a postgame press release. “She knows her team and coaches love her and were here for her. This is going to be something that doesn’t ever go away. She was as locked in and focused as anyone was, or could be, at this time.”

McCombs also noted later on that it was the Seawolves’ defensive effort against the Orange that allowed the score to be so close. After being outrebounded by Fordham days ago, the Seawolves grabbed 48 boards against the Orange’s 45 despite a height disadvantage. However, the Seawolves shooting inefficiency (3-for-24 from beyond the arc and 10-for-20 at the line) took away from a game that earned the team high remarks from Syracuse’s head coach Quentin Hillsman.

“They’re just a really good basketball team,” Hillsman said. “I have to give them credit for playing tough.”

Now sitting at 0-2 and with their upcoming contests with Sacred Heart being canceled due to a member of the Pioneers testing positive for COVID-19, the Seawolves must look to a Long Island showdown with the Hofstra Pride on Sunday, Dec. 13 in order to get back on track. 

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“From the inside and outside we definitely struggled,” McCombs said. “With their size, it was a good opportunity to grow and learn and get better. You’re not going to win a lot of games shooting the way we did. So we’ll work on that in our upcoming practices.”

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