Forward Nairimar Vargas-Reyes shooting a free throw in a game against Iona on Monday, Nov. 14. Vargas-Reyes continued her strong play last week, but the Stony Brook women’s basketball team was unable to win either game. ONESUN JEONG/THE STATESMAN

A rough week kept the Stony Brook women’s basketball team winless on the road to start its 2022-23 season.

The Seawolves (4-4) visited the Pennsylvania Quakers on Thursday and the Bucknell Bison on Saturday. They were overmatched from wire-to-wire by Penn, losing 73-53. They failed to bounce back two days later when Bucknell beat them 64-58 in a tightly contested matchup. The team is now 0-4 on the road this season with an average margin of loss just under 19 points.

On Thursday, things were bad from the start for Stony Brook. With 2:35 left in the first quarter, the Seawolves had seven turnovers and just five points. By that point, the Quakers had already established control of the contest with a 17-5 lead. The opening frame ended with an 11-point deficit for Stony Brook, in which they shot just 23.5% compared to the Quakers’ 52.9%.

The second quarter saw improvements in both departments, as the team shot 50% and turned the ball over only three times. The Seawolves were still outscored 21-17, mostly on the back of being out-rebounded 16-9. 

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In the third quarter, Stony Brook picked up some momentum and put together its best comeback effort. Its defense led the way, as the team forced their opponents to shoot just 35.7% and forced seven turnovers. On the offensive end, forward Nairmair Vargas-Reyes provided the spark with eight points, which included four from the free-throw line. By outscoring Pennsylvania 20-16 in the frame, the Seawolves entered the final frame with the game in reach, down just 57-46.

Things fell apart for Stony Brook on both sides of the ball in the fourth quarter, as they struggled to find any rhythm. Offensively, things took a turn for the worse, as the Seawolves shot a dismal 3-of-13 from the field. Defensively, the struggles were just as severe, as the Quakers shot 54.5% from the field and 57.1% from deep, spoiling any chance for a potential come-from-behind victory.

The lopsided shooting numbers cost Stony Brook on Thursday. The team shot 36.1% overall from the field, including 18.8% from three-point range. The Quakers converted on 45.9% of their shots and made 12 three-pointers at a 41.4% clip.

Penn’s effective ball movement gave the Seawolves trouble all night, tallying 20 assists as a team compared to Stony Brook’s 11. The Quakers paired that with a strong effort on the glass, out-rebounding the Seawolves 42-35. Penn forward Floor Toonders totaled 11 rebounds, including six on the offensive end, contributing to the team’s dominance on second chance opportunities. 

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For the second straight game, Stony Brook’s backcourt duo was mostly shut down. Guards Gigi Gonzalez and Annie Warren combined for eight points on 3-for-15 shooting. Guard Daishai Almond also struggled offensively, tallying six points on 3-for-11 shooting.

For the fourth time this year, Stony Brook’s bench combined for ten or fewer points, tallying seven points in 55 combined minutes of play. 

Four Pennsylvania players posted double-digit scoring totals, with guard Mandy McGurk leading the way at 18 points.

Though Saturday’s game was closer, the Seawolves’ shooting was not much better, leading to them being out-dueled again.

The Bison jumped out to a 12-6 lead, hitting key three-pointers despite tight defense. Bucknell held its advantage over Stony Brook for much of the first quarter, but jumpers from guard Shamarla King and Almond helped cut the deficit to just one point.

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Stony Brook battled closely with Bucknell throughout the second quarter. Strong defense from both sides limited scoring, as both teams were held under 20 points. Two late buckets from the Bison gave them a four-point lead heading into the half. 

The Seawolves finally outscored Bucknell in the third quarter during a defensive slugfest. They outscored them 13-11 as both teams failed to shoot over 30% from the field. They took a four-point lead with two minutes remaining in the quarter, but Bucknell went on a 6-0 run to take a two-point lead into the final frame.

A back and forth final 10 minutes saw the Seawolves in striking distance. A three-pointer from Warren cut Stony Brook’s deficit to just three points with 22 seconds remaining. However, several clutch free throws from Bucknell handed the Seawolves their second consecutive loss.

The struggle to score in the second half sealed Stony Brook’s fate, as the team shot a combined 9-for-33. Their presence on the offensive glass kept things close, as they hauled in 14 offensive rebounds to Bucknell’s seven.

“Bucknell is a good team that challenged us today,” head coach Ashley Langford said in a post game interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “We will learn from this and continue to get better.” 

Statistically, Vargas-Reyes was the Seawolves’ best player during the week. She scored a career-high 19 points at Penn and hauled in 12 rebounds at Bucknell. The Saturday game marked her fourth double-digit rebound game this season. Between the two games, Vargas-Reyes scored 28 points on 11-of-22 shooting and tallied 19 rebounds.

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Warren’s team-leading 20 points at Bucknell marked her third 20-point game of the season. 

Stony Brook will look to return to the victory column on Wednesday night at 7 p.m., as it will host the Columbia Lions at Island Federal Arena. The Lions are 7-2 and are riding a four-game win streak after a dominant 91-43 beating of Lafayette on Saturday.

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