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Turnovers, poor rebounding plague Stony Brook women’s basketball in loss

Guard Gigi Gonzalez shooting a corner three against Columbia on Wednesday, Dec. 7. Gonzalez set a career high in scoring for the second time this year with 28 points against the Lions. CAMRON WANG/THE STATESMAN

The Stony Brook women’s basketball team played its worst defense of the season, leading to its first home loss of the year. 

After spending over three weeks on the road, the Seawolves (4-5) returned home to Island Federal Arena on Wednesday to host the Columbia Lions. They suffered their third loss in a row, falling 84-68 to the Ivy League’s top team. The Stony Brook defense surrendered its highest scoring total of the year, sinking the team back under .500. 

The game started off with a lot of scoring. Stony Brook trailed 27-22 after a first quarter that saw Columbia shoot 52.6% from the field. After a 15-3 run put the Lions up by 12, guards Gigi Gonzalez and Annie Warren led the Seawolves on an 8-1 stretch to finish the first quarter.

The second quarter was also high-scoring and competitive, with Columbia earning a 22-19 advantage. Stony Brook trailed 49-41 going into halftime.

“I think Columbia’s a really hard team to guard,” head coach Ashley Langford said in a postgame press conference. “They’ve got five weapons out there. There’s little positives out of our defense. That’s just a good offensive team down there.”

The Seawolves fought hard in the second half but committed several costly turnovers that hurt them in the long run. Stony Brook turned the ball over 13 times in the second half, allowing Columbia to protect its lead. The team also struggled to shoot the ball over the final 20 minutes, converting on only nine of its 25 shots. The Lions, meanwhile, buried 48.4% of their field goals to slowly distance themselves from Stony Brook. 

“We were a little disconnected on offense,” Langford said. “I think it’s just us turning the ball over. When you turn the ball over, you don’t get those shots.”

Though Stony Brook lost by six possessions, the game was tightly contested from wire-to-wire. All four quarters were decided by five points or less. However, the Seawolves shot themselves in their collective foot by committing 20 total turnovers and allowing 18 offensive rebounds. 

“It’s usually ‘You win the glass, you win the game,’ and that’s just basketball. I don’t care who you’re playing,” Langford said. “That determines the game.”

Gonzalez finished the night with a career-high 28 points on 11-for-19 shooting. She went 3-for-4 from three-point range and knocked down all three of her free throws. 

“Going into the game, I just didn’t want to put pressure on myself,” Gonzalez said. “I wanted to focus on just being able to be aggressive and getting my team involved. I feel like those two things really helped me.” 

Forward Sherese Pittman scored 16 points on 3-of-7 shooting while going 10-for-10 from the free-throw line. She also pulled down five rebounds. Pittman was disappointed in her defensive performance, but is looking forward to the chance to improve and bounce back.

“I think I could’ve defended a lot better this game,” Pittman said. “Again, it’s not the result that we wanted. Tomorrow in practice, we get better, and go from there.”

Columbia’s offense was dominant. The team shot 48.5% overall, and all five starters scored double-digit points. Guard Jaida Patrick led the team with 21 points. 

Stony Brook shot 42.6% as a team and converted on a season-best 43.8% of its three-pointers. The team also shot 88.2% from the free-throw line, going 15-for-17. The defense struggled overall but was strong on the perimeter, holding Columbia to just 30.4% from deep. 

The Seawolves will look to end their losing streak this Saturday when they host the St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers at 2 p.m. The Terriers are currently mired in an eight-game losing streak and are 1-8 on the season. Their one win was against the NCAA Division III Old Westbury Panthers on Nov. 7. They will play the Pennsylvania Quakers on Thursday before their matchup with Stony Brook.

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