The Stony Brook women’s basketball team at the homecoming game on Oct. 23. The basketball team was predicted to win the America East in an annual preseason poll. JOCELYN CRUZ/THE STATESMAN

The Stony Brook women’s basketball team was predicted to win the America East in the conference’s annual preseason poll of head coaches, the league announced on Oct. 20. 

The Seawolves, winners of the last two America East championships, received six of 10 first-place votes and 78 points, barely edging out rival Maine. Graduate forward India Pagán and senior guard Anastasia Warren were named to the Preseason All-Conference Team, making Stony Brook the only school with two players selected.

“It shows a lot of respect for the league that we were predicted preseason No. 1,” first-year head coach Ashley Langford said in a press release. “For me, it’s not about where you start, it’s about how you finish. It’s a lot of tremendous respect from the league and for our team and it’s well-deserved. I am excited to be here, practice has been awesome. Our women are working really hard and that’s all that I can ask for.”

Stony Brook finished second in the regular season standings last year under head coach Caroline McCombs, but upset Maine 64-60 in the championship game to clinch the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament berth. There, they earned the No. 14 seed and lost in the first round to No. 3 Arizona, who went on to reach the final round.

Pagán, fresh off a trip to the 2020 Olympics with Puerto Rico, was named to the Preseason All-Conference team for the second year in a row. She eclipsed 1,000 career points in January and owns a .512 career field goal percentage, the best in program history. 

Warren was the star of last year’s postseason. Her 31 points against Maine were the most by a Stony Brook player since 2007 and earned her Tournament MVP honors. She was later named to the All-Conference Third Team.

But this year, the Seawolves will be trying to find their usual success without many familiar faces. McCombs left the program in April to become the head coach at George Washington. Senior guard Asiah Dingle, who led the team with 236 points, transferred to Fordham, and long-time defensive stalwart Hailey Zeise graduated. 

Stony Brook begins the season at home against Delaware State on Nov. 9.

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