After the news broke about the Stony Brook women’s basketball team’s ban from America East postseason play because of the school’s decision to move to the Colonial Athletic Association next season, the Seawolves came out cold despite playing an opponent with a poor record.
A missed free throw as time expired decided the outcome and Stony Brook (18-2, 9-1 AE) came out on top in a nail-biter against the Binghamton Bearcats (5-12, 1-6 AE), winning 49-48 on Wednesday, Feb. 2 to extend their winning streak to nine games.
In a battle of the SUNYs, the one-point victory hinted at how Stony Brook was mentally affected by the America East’s retribution.
It seemed to be business as usual for the Seawolves in the first quarter, holding the Bearcats to only nine points in the period. This was short-lived as Binghamton would claw back and take the lead thanks to a jumper by forward Birna Benonysdottir two minutes into the second quarter, which was Binghamton’s tenth straight point in an eventual 18-2 run.
Another big contributor to this hot Binghamton stretch was guard Clare Traeger, who pulled down seven rebounds in the first half and ended the game with nine.
Stony Brook struck back after returning from the break and regained the lead after a bucket by forward McKenzie Bushee. The Seawolves led by as much as eight but, yet again, this was short lived as the Bearcats were in the middle of scoring 14 unanswered points to end the quarter.
The fourth quarter was a dogfight between the two teams. After Binghamton extended its lead to six through a Benonysdottir layup, the Seawolves scored nine unanswered points, two coming from a layup by guard Earlette Scott, the reigning America East Player of the Week, to snag back the lead.
In a game that included five lead changes, a free throw by Binghamton forward Jalyn Van Dyke tied the game at 46-46 with two minutes to play. The Seawolves gained the lead when guard Gigi Gonzalez floated an inbounds pass to a cutting Bushee, who placed the ball in the basket.
After trading defensive stops, Binghamton found itself with the ball, down by two with the shot clock turned off. Stony Brook played solid defense and forced a miss as guard Annie Warren pulled down the rebound and was immediately fouled. Sent to the line, she only made one, leaving it at a 49-46 one-possession game.
This gave the Bearcats one last opportunity to tie the game with 2.8 seconds left.
Binghamton drew up a play for Benonysdottir to catch and shoot a 3-pointer at the top of the key to send it to overtime. She missed but was fouled on the shot right before the buzzer sounded to send her to the line. The first two free-throws were nothing but net, but she was unable to convert on the final shot to tie it.
In a game that made Bushee the leader in all-time games played in program history, she led the way with 12 points and six rebounds. Other key contributors to the win were forward Leighah-Amori Wool, who ended the game with 12 points and six rebounds, sinking two 3-pointers, as well as Gonzalez, who despite shooting 0-for-8 from the field, still managed to rack up six assists, six rebounds and three steals.
While unable to compete in the playoffs, the Seawolves will continue to prove why they are the best team in the conference on Saturday, Feb. 5 against the NJIT Highlanders at Island Federal Arena.