Costly turnovers prevented the Stony Brook women’s basketball team from pulling off a comeback against the Towson Tigers on Thursday, dropping it to fourth place in the conference.
With major postseason seeding implications on the line, the Seawolves (17-11, 11-6 CAA) traveled to Maryland to take on Towson in a crucial matchup. Stuck in a four-way tie for second place in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), Stony Brook was unable to pull off the win, as inopportune turnovers and struggles defending the paint culminated in a 76-67 loss.
It was easy pickings in the paint for Towson early, as forward Quinzia Fulmore repeatedly backed down the Seawolves for three buckets. After a jumper from guard Daishai Almond tied things at six, the Tigers turned their offensive focus to jump-shooting, leading them on a 13-5 run to end the first quarter. Guard Patricia Anumgba nailed a buzzer beater, allowing Towson to take a 19-11 lead into the next quarter.
Stony Brook held the momentum in the second frame and outplayed Towson until the closing minutes. A mid-range jumper by guard Kelis Corley cut Stony Brook’s deficit down to just two points inside of two minutes remaining. However, a free throw and a deep three-pointer by Anumgba grew Towson’s lead to six points. After a layup by guard Gigi Gonzalez cut into that lead, Anumgba created a shot for herself with a pump fake and banked it in off the glass with just six seconds remaining. That nifty work restored Towson’s six-point lead heading into intermission.
After hitting a heavily-contested fadeaway jumper to open the second half, forward Shamarla King had a pass intercepted by Anumgba that led to a fast-break layup. This was only the beginning. The Seawolves turned the ball over eight times in the third quarter, allowing Towson to take a seven-point lead into the fourth quarter. The game got as close as three points after a layup by King with 6:24 left in the quarter, but the extra possessions allowed Towson to stay two steps in front of Stony Brook for the entire frame.
After playing a relatively clean first half — only turning the ball over only five times — Stony Brook committed eight turnovers in the third quarter, paving the way for 12 of Towson’s 19 points.
The Seawolves cleaned up their play in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late. The turnover-riddled third quarter sealed the Seawolves’ fate. Stony Brook’s offense kept the team within striking distance, but Towson’s methodical play slowed the game down too much. The Tigers chewed the clock for the majority of the final frame and repeatedly went down low for buckets.
The Seawolves continued to battle until the end, cutting their deficit down to five points with under two minutes remaining. However, consecutive misses by King and Corley allowed Towson to extend its lead back to three possessions with a bucket from guard Skye Williams.
After that bucket, a turnover by Corley allowed Williams and guard Alexia Nelson to put the game out of reach, handing Stony Brook an 11-point deficit with just 14 seconds remaining. A meaningless buzzer-beating layup by forward Delaney Yarborough made the game appear a little bit closer, but it made no difference in the end.
Despite the loss, head coach Ashley Langford was proud of the team’s effort in a hostile environment, as the team now shifts its attention to the regular-season finale.
“I thought we competed and fought hard tonight,” Langford said in a postgame interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “We will regroup and focus on closing out the regular season with a win on Saturday.”
The Seawolves struggled immensely in the paint all night without the presence of center Sherese Pittman, their best interior defender and scorer. She was out with an injury sustained during the final minute of Sunday’s game. The injury thrusted forward Nyajuok Toang into her place in the starting lineup. Towson had its way in the paint, totaling 44 points.
King led the way for Stony Brook’s offense. Her 23 points led all scorers and set a new career high. She shot 9-for-18 from the field and led the team with seven rebounds as well. Both Almond (14) and guard Annie Warren (12) cracked double-digit scoring totals on 6-of-11 and 5-of-13 shooting, respectively.
Overall, Stony Brook shot 45% as a team and 36.8% from deep, which was a vast improvement over Sunday’s performance. However, the defense struggled, allowing Towson to shoot 47.7% from the field and 35.3% from deep.
Stony Brook had trouble defending Anumgba and guard Kylie Kornegay-Lucas. Both players scored 20 points each and had very efficient nights. Kornegay-Lucas did it all, shooting 7-for-14 from the field while also collecting 12 rebounds and dishing out five assists. Anumgba shot 8-for-15 overall and 3-for-7 from deep.
Williams and Fulmore were efficient for Towson as well. Williams scored 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting and pulled down five rebounds. Fulmore scored 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds.
Stony Brook is now in a three-way tie for fourth place in the CAA with one game remaining in the regular season. The team will attempt to right the ship at the Monmouth Hawks on Saturday before the CAA postseason tournament begins. The Hawks are 13-15 overall and 8-9 in conference play. They are coming off a 70-60 loss to William & Mary on Thursday. Opening tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m.