The whole starting lineup for the Stony Brook women’s basketball team cracked double-digit scoring totals, helping it secure a season sweep over its Long Island rival.
In round two of this season’s Battle of Long Island, the Seawolves (14-9, 8-4 CAA) returned home to Island Federal Arena to host the Hofstra Pride. Stony Brook’s ability to capitalize on the Pride’s blunders, mixed with some splash plays, propelled the team to a decisive 70-60 victory.
Hofstra continually gave the Seawolves fits in the paint in the opening quarter. Hofstra center Zyheima Swint and guard Sorelle Ineza repeatedly backed down Stony Brook in the paint for several buckets. Ineza ended the quarter with a bang by splashing a deep, heavily-contested three-pointer to give the Pride a 20-14 lead.
Swint and Inzea had their way with Stony Brook in the first quarter, combining for 14 points on 6-of-6 shooting. Offensively, the Seawolves were unable to execute, missing a handful of good looks throughout the frame.
In the second quarter, the tide turned in the Seawolves’ favor when Swint got into foul trouble, forcing her to go to the bench. Stony Brook immediately capitalized without Hofstra’s 6-foot-3 paint-presence on the floor, as guard Annie Warren hit a three-pointer to bring the team within two points.
Warren continued to burn Hofstra from deep, knocking down another three-pointer from the corner with 4:15 left in the half to give Stony Brook its first lead of the day. The Seawolves caused the Pride to flutter without Swint on the floor, outscoring them 18-7 in the final 7:51 of the second quarter. The run allowed Stony Brook to take a 35-29 lead into the break.
Head coach Ashley Langford said the defensive adjustments that the Seawolves made in the second quarter allowed them to go on a run.
“We were talking a lot about ball pressure,” Langford said in a postgame press conference. “Being more of the aggressor, making them put the ball on the floor, and trusting our gaps, trusting our help sides to be able to take charges.”
Warren started off the third quarter picking up right where she left off. Just 16 seconds in, she hit a contested mid-range jumper with Hofstra guard Ally Knights draped all over her. The jumper kickstarted a 10-4 Stony Brook run to open up the quarter. The run was capped off by a backdoor assist from guard Daishai Almond to center Sherese Pittman, giving the Seawolves their first double-digit point lead of the day.
Almond ended the third quarter on a high note, jumping a Hofstra pass for a steal before fighting off a defender for an easy layup. Stony Brook took a 55-42 lead into the fourth quarter.
Hofstra opened the fourth quarter by scoring the first five points, bringing Stony Brook’s lead back within single digits. A short 7-2 run highlighted by a pair of Almond layups restored the Seawolves’ 13-point lead, forcing Hofstra to call a timeout with 7:18 remaining.
The Pride came out of the timeout rejuvenated. Over the next 4:29, Hofstra went on an 11-0 run to cut Stony Brook’s lead to just two points. However, the Seawolves clamped down on the Pride and held them off the scoreboard over the final 2:49.
On offense, a layup from guard Kelis Corley with 2:29 remaining doubled Stony Brook’s lead to four points, and six free throws between guard Gigi Gonzalez and Pittman finished an 8-0 run to ice the victory.
Despite the lapse in the middle of the final frame, Langford was happy with the way her team handled the adversity.
“I’m proud of our team for being able to be resilient and stick together. To be calm in that situation to come up with a win,” Langford said.
After allowing 20 points in the first quarter on 60% shooting, the Seawolves flipped the script in the following two quarters, holding the Pride to just 22 points on 31.8% shooting during that stretch. Stony Brook’s potent defense in the middle quarters gave the Seawolves some breathing room as things got close in the end.
Offensively, Warren led the way for Stony Brook with 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting. She did most of her damage from deep, shooting 5-for-9 from three-point range.
Warren made a big impact with her defense as well. She swarmed shooters on the wing and forced other opponents to pass out of their shot attempts. Her performance played a big role in Stony Brook holding Hofstra to just 5-of-17 (29.4%) on three-point shooting.
Warren credits her defense for helping her succeed on offense.
“My defense creates my offense,” Warren said. “When we’re getting stops on defense, we can get out on transition and play how we want to play.”
To Warren’s point, Stony Brook’s offense fed off its defense. The team scored 22 points off 19 turnovers by Hofstra.
Pittman posted a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. She made several key splash plays (two blocks, two steals) to help Stony Brook during its crucial runs.
“That’s a big part of what we do is defending,” Pittman said. “Anything to help us win, that’s what I will do.”
Gonzalez struggled from the field, shooting just 3-for-15. However, she still managed to score 14 points by going 8-for-8 from the free-throw line. Gonzalez also dished out six assists. Almond was efficient, scoring 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting while contributing another four assists. Forward Shamarla King was good again, scoring 10 points on 3-for-7 shooting while pulling down seven rebounds.
The Seawolves will look to make it two in a row this Friday when they travel to South Carolina to take on the College of Charleston. The Cougars are 10-13 on the season and are 5-8 in conference play. They are coming off a 90-56 blowout win over Delaware on Sunday.