The Stony Brook women’s basketball team has officially solidified its best start in program history, jumping out to 6-0 in a 91-82 road win over the Columbia Lions on Wednesday, Nov. 24.
Going into the matchup, this game included two of the remaining 54 undefeated Division I women’s basketball teams. Only one would be able to continue on a flawless season.
If the legitimacy of Stony Brook’s success has not already been proved in wins against programs such as St. John’s and Rutgers, a win against the top team in the Ivy League should stop the doubters from asking any more questions.
After trailing 12-6 a little more than halfway through the first quarter, head coach Ashley Langford called for a timeout. She saw that her team was not playing as aggressively as usual. Whatever she said to her team worked; after the timeout, Stony Brook went on a 9-0 run to end the quarter, capped off by a layup at the buzzer by junior guard Veronica Charles.
It was clear from that point that this would be a high-scoring bout.
“Our whole thing so far has been defense. Today, we didn’t really defend as well as I would have liked, but we still found a way to get the W,” Langford said in a postgame press conference. “Our defense isn’t going right? Okay, well, we’re scoring the basketball, we’re getting key stops. Columbia is a really good offensive team, they’re hard to guard. People just stepped up. We’re a collective team, a collective unit.”
Stony Brook would protect the lead going into halftime, being up by as much as 10 in the second quarter. Columbia began to rally back in the third, tying the game with two minutes left thanks to a 3-pointer from sophomore guard Abbey Hsu.
This sparked a back-and-forth battle of 3-pointers as junior guard Gigi Gonzalez would answer with one of her own to regain the lead only for Hsu to drill another one the next possession to tie it back up. Graduate forward McKenzie Bushee connected on a layup to take back the Seawolves lead, but a buzzer-beating layup by junior guard Carly Rivera would leave the two teams tied at the end of the period.
The Seawolves had an advantage in the post, and they called on graduate forward Leighah-Amori Wool to do the dirty work. She ended the game with 11 points, eight of which came in the fourth quarter.
Wool was not the only Seawolf to get it done with their back to the basket. Graduate forward India Pagan ended the game with 16 points and six rebounds, shooting 8-for-9 from the field. Bushee also had 11 points and five rebounds, all of which came on the offensive glass. This dominance was added to by senior forward Nairimar Vargas-Reyes who recorded 10 points and eight rebounds on 4-for-5 shooting.
Once the Lions started to anticipate the post play, the Seawolves turned to dribble-penetration to get to the free-throw-line. This was shown by the effort of Gonzalez, who scored 13 of her career-high 21 points in the fourth quarter, 11 coming from the charity stripe. She would go on to shoot 14-for-16 from the line for the game while tacking on four assists.
Another player to note is Gonzalez’s backcourt-mate, senior guard Earlette Scott. Though struggling to shoot the ball with only five points, she made her presence known in front of her hometown by contributing six rebounds and four assists.
Columbia would not go out quietly. Hsu would prove why she is the leading scorer in the Ivy League by putting up 22 points and shooting 47% from the field. The only player to score more than Hsu in the game was her teammate, junior guard and reigning Ivy League Player of the Week Kaitlyn Davis. Davis recorded 23 points, six rebounds and four assists in the matchup. Despite the duo’s best efforts, it just was not enough to get the win.
“Columbia is a great team, probably the best team we’ve played yet,” Scott said.
This offensive battle is what many basketball fans look forward to, and it was the first time Stony Brook scored 90 points in a game since 2007.
The Seawolves couldn’t have asked for a better end to their road trip. They will look to continue to make their presence felt as they return home to play the St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers at Island Federal Arena on Sunday, Nov. 28 in hopes to extend their perfect season.