Senior guard Annie Warren in a game against the Delaware State Hornets on Nov. 9. Warren put up 29 points against the Longwood Lancers on Nov. 12.  JOCELYN CRUZ/THE STATESMAN

The Stony Brook women’s basketball team kept its offense rolling with an 82-63 victory over the Longwood Lancers on Friday, Nov. 12. 

After an offensive explosion in Tuesday’s blowout over Delaware State, the Seawolves hit the road with high intentions — intentions to keep up with the vigorous defense and aggressiveness that had been on full display in the season opener. 

They did just that.

Stony Brook (2-0) shot 45% from the field and was 8-for-19 from three-point range, nearly matching its performance on opening day. The Seawolves also held the Lancers’ all-time field-goal percentage leader, senior forward Akila Smith, to just 18 points. 

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“We were able to hold a good Longwood team to 34% shooting and won the boards, two areas we know we needed to control in order to win,” head coach Ashley Langford stated in a press release.

The Seawolves received huge offensive contributions from senior guard Annie Warren, who put up 29 points while going 5-for-8 on three-pointers, as well as junior guard Gigi Gonzalez, who scored a career-high 20 points.

Despite their offensive success, Stony Brook struggled with turnovers early in the game. With 1:30 left in the first quarter, the Seawolves had already surrendered 8 turnovers to the Lancers. By halftime, they had given up 15, and they ended the day with 21 in total. 

These frequent turnovers were initially detrimental to the offensive drive that had been so prevalent in Stony Brook’s opening game. By the end of the first quarter, the Lancers had kept pace with the Seawolves’ offense despite only shooting 20% from the field and missing all three of their three-point attempts.

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What really set the Seawolves apart was their ability to capitalize on turnovers by the Lancers. While the Lancers only scored eight points off turnovers by Stony Brook, the Seawolves were able to score 23 points off turnovers by Longwood.

The Lancers, down 39-32 at the half, came back from the locker room with determination in their eyes. Smith and junior guard Kyla McMakin began hitting shots they had missed earlier in the game. Longwood also gained some momentum from the efforts of freshman point guard Kennedy Calhoun, who made all three second-half shots, including a pair of threes. With 3:40 left in the third, the Lancers had come within two points of the Seawolves.

Yet Stony Brook never let things get out of hand. For every moment where it seemed like the Lancers were finding their groove, the Seawolves held them in check. Even when Stony Brook found itself in trouble, they stayed on top.

“I’m also proud of the way we stepped up as a whole team,” Langford said. “[Graduate forward Leighah Amori-Wool] was in foul trouble, but Kelis, Nairi and Kenzie did a good job keeping up the intensity at that position. Also, Annie and Gigi were outstanding and really showed great poise and confidence.”

What started as a back-and-forth matchup ended with domination by Stony Brook in the fourth quarter — both on the offensive and defensive end. The Seawolves outscored Longwood 26-14 in the last quarter, taking a game-high 18 shots from the field and sinking eight of them. 

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On the defensive end, Stony Brook showed the same relentlessness in the fourth quarter as they had shown way back at the start of the game. Graduate forward McKenzie Bushee provided one of the key defensive plays of the game with just 3:54 left in the final quarter. After a turnover by Longwood’s Smith, Bushee rushed down the court and forced another turnover in Stony Brook’s favor. 

Stony Brook’s early struggles with turnovers weren’t enough to stop the Seawolves from putting on an offensive show in Farmville. Perhaps these struggles will interest Langford as Stony Brook faces St. John’s, Rutgers and Iona over the next week.

“I was pleased with our performance today,” Langford said. “We talked a lot about how mental focus will win games on the road and we were able to do that today.”

Graduate forward India Pagan, despite being held to just eight points, tied Agnes Ferro at 1,119 on the Stony Brook all-time points list. Langford also became the second Stony Brook women’s basketball coach to win both of their first two games.

Undefeated, Stony Brook returns home to face off against the St. John’s Red Storm on Sunday, Nov. 14 at 2 p.m.

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