Guard Gigi Gonzalez leading a fast break in an exhibition against Adelphi on Thursday, Nov. 3. The Stony Brook women’s basketball team began the season 0-1 with a big loss to Syracuse on Monday afternoon. TIM GIORLANDO/THE STATESMAN

Shooting woes and sloppy play combined to hand the Stony Brook’s women’s basketball team its first loss of the season.

The Seawolves (0-1) opened their season at the Syracuse Orange on Monday, Nov. 7, only to be blown out 79-56. An all-around poor display — including 22 turnovers and a 31.3% shooting percentage — left Stony Brook still looking for its first win of the new season. On the other end, Syracuse head coach Felisha Legette-Jack had a successful debut with the Orange, beginning her stint 1-0. 

The Seawolves started off strong, jumping out to a 19-17 lead in the first quarter. However, Syracuse ran away with it after that, outscoring Stony Brook 22-7 in the second quarter and grasping onto a lead that they never relinquished.

“I’m proud of how our team competed tonight and fought hard,” head coach Ashley Langford said in a postgame interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “Syracuse is a tough, athletic team that was relentless on the glass.”

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As the Seawolves tried to come back, guard Daishai Almond and forward Sherese Pittman kept them alive with strong third quarter performances. The two combined for 14 points in the quarter as Stony Brook outscored the Orange 22-21, keeping the game in reach heading into the final quarter.

After guard Erin Turral hit a pair of free throws with 6:51 left to play, Stony Brook closed the gap to nine points. However, comeback aspirations quickly faltered after the Orange grabbed three offensive rebounds in a 34-second span, resulting in four second-chance points.

This was a theme of the night, as Stony Brook was out-rebounded 59-41. The team also allowed 25 offensive rebounds to Syracuse, giving them plenty of extra possessions. The Seawolves had no answer for center Dariauna Lewis, who grabbed 16 total rebounds (eight offensive) in her debut with the Orange.

Following that sequence, Syracuse outscored Stony Brook 17-3 to end the contest, securing their 16th straight opening-game win.

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The Seawolves’ shooting let the team down. After forward Nairimar Vargas-Reyes converted the team’s first attempt from beyond the three-point arc, Stony Brook missed its next 15 three-point shots.

Starting guards Gigi Gonzalez and Annie Warren both had rough nights. They combined to shoot 4-for-18 from the field and 0-for-5 from three. The tandem also turned the ball over 13 times.

The play of the new transfers was a positive for the Seawolves on Monday night. Pittman was one rebound shy of a double-double in her first game as a Seawolf. The sophomore recorded 13 points and nine rebounds. Guard Sharmarla King, also making her Stony Brook debut, matched Pittman with nine rebounds, a collegiate career-high for the junior. Almond led the Seawolves in points and assists with 15 and three, respectively.

The Seawolves had their hands full trying to defend Syracuse’s guards. Guard Dyaisha Fair, who was the fourth-leading scorer in the nation last season with Buffalo, tallied 18 points in her debut. Her backcourt counterpart, guard Teisha Hyman, was a two-way threat during the whole matchup. The former All-ACC Honorable Mention had 16 points and six steals.

The Seawolves’ recklessness with the ball resulted in 25 points off turnovers for Syracuse. Their opponents were not much better though, as they recorded 18 turnovers.

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Langford is confident in her team’s abilities to bounce back and feels the early season loss will serve as something the team can learn from.  

“The lessons learned from today will help us be better in the future,” Langford said.

Stony Brook will look to grab its first win of the season on Thursday when the team returns home to face the Manhattan Jaspers at Island Federal Arena. The Jaspers fell to Wagner 63-60 on Monday night to open their 2022-23 campaign.

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