Forward Leighah-Amori Wool in the game against New Hampshire. Wool scored 13 of her team-leading 23 points in the third quarter. KAT PROCACCI/THE STATESMAN

The Stony Brook women’s basketball team celebrated Valentine’s Day with a big 64-48 victory over the UMBC Retrievers down in Baltimore on Monday, Feb. 14. After a tightly contested first half, the Seawolves were able to run off a dominant third quarter and never looked back.

Like a strong, defensively inclined team would, Stony Brook (21-3, 12-2 AE) came out ready, holding UMBC (3-17, 2-8 AE) to just 34.8% shooting from the floor in the first half. Unfortunately, where their defense thrived, their offense lagged; the Seawolves themselves shot only 33.3%.

The game was very competitive in the first half; there were four tying shots and four lead changes between the two teams, knotted at 30 points apiece by halftime. 

Stony Brook was able to right the ship. The second half saw a vast improvement in the Seawolves’ offense, shooting 57.7%, including 62.5% in the third quarter. That was when Stony Brook’s offense got more aggressive, setting themselves up with looks that the team would prefer to take.

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Not exactly a jump-shooting team, it’s no secret that the Seawolves make their money in the paint. In that third frame, the Seawolves were able to outscore the Retrievers 24-11, with 17 of their points coming from inside the paint. Their lead grew to as many as 15 points, as forward Leighah-Amori Wool scored 13 of her team-leading 23 in the third quarter. For Wool, 11 of her 13 points came from within the paint, with the other two from free throws. She shot 8-for-12 overall and stretched the floor for Stony Brook by draining three of her five 3-point attempts. 

The Seawolves completely outmatched the Retrievers in the trenches, outscoring them 36-6 in the paint. The domination did not stop there, though; Stony Brook’s size and strength played into longer offensive possessions, pulling in 16 offensive rebounds and 15 second-chance points — 15 more than UMBC.

Overall, Stony Brook out-rebounded UMBC 41-21, led by forward India Pagan’s 14-point, 10-rebound double-double – her second of the season and fifth of her career. Guard Annie Warren also chipped in with 12 points and nine rebounds.

The Stony Brook defense engulfed the UMBC offense — not just in the paint — as UMBC only shot 30.4% overall as a team. After scoring 30 points in the first half, UMBC could only chalk up 18 in the second, being held to 6-for-23 shooting by the stingy Stony Brook defense. UMBC’s two leading scorers, forward Janee’a Summers and guard Jatarrikah Settle, were just a combined 6-for-21 (28.6%) shooting. 

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The Seawolves coasted after a dominant third quarter, as the defense finished with their best quarter in the fourth. Stony Brook held the UMBC offense to just 18.2% from the field (2-for-11) while surrendering only seven total points. The lead grew to 16 points after Pagan’s layup with 2:40 left, and then the two teams played their subs, exchanging scoreless basketball until the final buzzer. 

With the win, Stony Brook’s record improved to 10-2 on the road.

There is still much room for improvement, however, as Stony Brook’s offense left a lot to be desired in the first half. Several times this season, the offense has stumbled out of the gate slowly and played down to their level of competition. The three-point shooting was less than stellar too, as only two players — Wool and Warren — hit all five of the Seawolves’ 3-pointers. Stony Brook was 0-for-6 from deep outside of those two players. The Seawolves also committed 15 turnovers, one more than UMBC.

However, none of that mattered. In a quick turnaround, Stony Brook has a rematch against UMBC on Wednesday, Feb. 16; this time at home. If this past game was any sign, it would appear the Seawolves should have their way with them again, but only time will tell.

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