Guard Gigi Gonzalez driving through contact against Columbia on Wednesday, Dec. 7. Despite Gonzalez’s performance against Drexel on Sunday, the Stony Brook women’s basketball team suffered its first loss in the CAA. CAMRON WANG/THE STATESMAN

In a battle for first place in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), the Stony Brook women’s basketball team found itself on the losing side of a blowout.

Facing the Drexel Dragons in Philadelphia on Sunday, the Seawolves (9-6, 3-1 CAA) looked to hand them their first loss of the conference season. However, they were fiercely outshot by the preseason favorites and lost 81-64, marking the program’s first-ever defeat in the CAA.

The first quarter was the most competitive part of the game. Both offenses got off to strong starts. Drexel shot 56.3% overall, while Stony Brook knocked down 57.1% of its three-pointers. After going down 18-9 through the first six minutes, Stony Brook went on an 11-2 run to tie the contest at 20 apiece, capped off with a catch-and-shoot three by guard Annie Warren.

The Seawolves started slowly in the second quarter, though this time, there was no immediate response. The Dragons suffocated them defensively throughout the period, allowing just 25% shooting while forcing six turnovers. On the opposite side of the court, the Seawolves had no answer for guards Keishana Washington and Tori Hyduke. The duo combined for 19 points in the quarter on 7-of-10 shooting. After being outscored 27-8 in the second quarter, the Seawolves trailed by 17 at halftime.

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Things got even worse after halftime for Stony Brook. The team’s shooting declined even further, as it put up just a 21.1% shooting mark in the third quarter. The Seawolves also missed all eight of their three-point attempts. The Seawolves’ struggles were epitomized when center Sherese Pittman missed a wide-open layup from underneath the basket with 6:59 left in the frame. Meanwhile, Drexel shot over 50% from the field for the third consecutive quarter. Stony Brook trailed 66-38 entering the final frame.

The final ten minutes served as garbage time for the Seawolves, as they were able to freshen up their stats while the game was already out of reach. In the fourth quarter, they outscored Drexel 26-15 on a much-improved 58.8% shooting. Warren tallied ten points in the quarter, elevating her to 18 points on 7-of-19 shooting.

Head coach Ashley Langford was pleased with her team’s effort in the second half, as she felt they did not quit on themselves.

I’m proud of our resilience after a tough second quarter,” Langford said in a postgame interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “I thought we battled in the second half but ultimately Drexel was the better team today. We have to learn from today’s game and keep growing.”

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Stony Brook only shot 38.1% from the field and 26.9% from deep. Things were not much better from the charity stripe, as the team only shot 60% on 15 attempts. The shot defense was equally bad, as it allowed a 55.2% shooting percentage and a 46.2% three-point percentage. 

Although the difference in shot-making was the largest theme of the game, Stony Brook was also outmatched in other categories. The Seawolves were out-rebounded 37-28 and were outscored off the bench 19-7.

Outside of Warren, the only Stony Brook players to crack double-digit in scoring totals were guard Gigi Gonzalez and forward Sherese Pittman. Gonzalez scored 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting, while Pittman added 11 on 4-for-11 shooting. Gonzalez also recorded seven assists but committed five turnovers along the way. Guard Shamarla King scored nine points while shooting 4-for-4. 

Guards Daishai Almond and Kelis Corley struggled, as they combined for 8 points on 3-of-13 shooting.

For the Dragons, Washington led the way with 27 points while shooting 10-for-19 overall. The fifth-year player is now averaging 27.5 points per game in the 2022-23 campaign, which ranks second in the nation. With this win, Drexel has started the conference season 4-0 for the second straight season.

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The Seawolves will return to Island Federal Arena on Friday, as they welcome the Monmouth Hawks. The Hawks are 8-7 on the season and are also 3-1 in the CAA. They are coming off a 64-56 win over Elon on Sunday. Opening tipoff is scheduled for 6:31 p.m.

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