The Stony Brook women’s basketball team’s season came to a bitter end, as a horrible fourth quarter culminated in the team’s elimination from the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) playoffs.
Fresh off a thrilling come-from-behind victory over 11th-seeded Elon the night prior, the sixth-seeded Seawolves (18-13, 11-7 CAA) fell to the third-seeded Northeastern Huskies on Friday night. Stony Brook trailed by only two points entering the final quarter, but its offense went dormant at the most inopportune time, leading to an 85-68 loss to end its season.
Northeastern outscored Stony Brook 25-10 in the fourth quarter. The Seawolves shot just 22.2% from the field in the final 10 minutes, while allowing their opponents to shoot 71.4%.
Head coach Ashley Langford attributed the poor finish to fatigue.
“Honestly, I think we ran out of gas,” Langford said in a postgame press conference. “It is what it is. Not for lack of effort, we just got tired.”
Stony Brook’s lackluster play in the fourth quarter was the polar opposite of the team’s third-quarter performance. The Seawolves outscored the Huskies 21-18 in the third quarter on a 43.8% shooting clip.
Halfway through the third quarter, Stony Brook went on a 10-0 run to take a 53-49 lead. However, Northeastern forward Halle Idowu led her team on an 11-5 run to enter the fourth quarter with a two-point lead.
The Seawolves never recovered their momentum, as Northeastern guard Derin Erdogan provided her team with a jolt of energy to allow her team to run away with the game. Coming off a screen, Erdogan threaded the needle through two defenders to find guard JaMiya Braxton in the corner. Braxton knocked down a contested three-pointer and the game was never the same afterwards.
Things continued to unravel for Stony Brook when Erdogan poked the ball away from forward Shamarla King, leading to a successful fast break. In transition, Erdogan connected with guard Gemina Motema on a no-look pass, leading to a layup. The play gave Northeastern a nine-point lead with eight minutes remaining.
The Huskies continued to take advantage of the fatigue-ridden Seawolves by pushing the tempo of play. Erdogan set up her teammates for several easy buckets in transition, while poor shot selection and costly turnovers did Stony Brook no favors. Just over three minutes into the fourth quarter, Northeastern forward Deja Bristol gave her team a 13-point lead with a layup after a travel by King.
Guard Annie Warren tried to carry the Seawolves back into it, hitting a three-pointer with 4:06 remaining to cut their deficit down to 10 points. The 10-point deficit was the closest Stony Brook found itself for the remainder of play, as an 8-0 Northeastern run officially shut the door on any chance of a miraculous comeback.
Stony Brook had no answer for Erdogan, who posted a double-double with 27 points and 10 assists along with five rebounds on 9-of-18 shooting. In the fourth quarter alone, Erdogan recorded five assists to help Northeastern distance itself from Stony Brook.
“I thought she did a good job of feeding her teammates,” Langford said. “She’s a great player, but I am glad that we were able to limit her, because in the first half, she was lighting us up.”
Northeastern center Jaelyn Batts, Motema and Braxton all cracked double figures as well. Braxton and Motema scored 14 points each, while Batts scored 10.
Stony Brook greatly missed star center Sherese Pittman, who was the CAA’s second-leading rebounder this year. Without her, Stony Brook was outrebounded 46-29.
Northeastern significantly outshot Stony Brook on the night. Stony Brook shot only 36.2% overall and 32% from deep, while knocking down just 66.7% of its free throws. The Huskies shot 47.7% overall and missed only one of their 17 free throws, good for a 94.1% clip.
Guard Daishai Almond led Stony Brook in the scoring department with 16 points on 7-of-19 shooting. King wrapped up the season on a high note, posting a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Guard Erin Turral turned in her best performance of the season, tying her career-high of 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting.
Warren concluded her storied Stony Brook career in uncharacteristic fashion, scoring just 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting. It was also a rough night for guard Gigi Gonzalez, as she scored just three points on 1-of-7 shooting. She was better as a facilitator, dishing out six assists while only committing one turnover.
Although Stony Brook was unable to bring home a CAA championship and advance to the national tournament, Langford had high praise for her team.
“We fought for 40 minutes and I’m extremely proud of our team,” Langford said. “We had to adapt for the end of the season with Sherese being out, and I’m just really proud of how resilient our team has been.”
With its inaugural CAA season now in the books, Stony Brook will have several questions to answer this offseason. Multiple key contributors are set to graduate, while others have decisions to make. All the Seawolves can do right now is work to get better next year.