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Stony Brook women’s basketball gets within a game of first place

Guard Gigi Gonzalez (0) leading a fast break while center Sherese Pittman (22) and forward Shamarla King (15) follow her. Gonzalez led the Stony Brook women’s basketball team to a third-straight win with 22 points on Sunday. VIKRAM SETHI/THE STATESMAN

After winning its third-straight game, the Stony Brook women’s basketball team moved into a tie for second place in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).

Riding the momentum from their win on Friday, the Seawolves (16-9, 10-4 CAA) traveled to North Carolina on Sunday to face the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) Seahawks. Stony Brook overwhelmed the Seahawks on both sides of the court, blowing them out 64-46.

Stony Brook entered the second quarter trailing 17-14, but the tide turned in its favor when a pair of free throws by guard Annie Warren kickstarted a 13-3 run. After a mid-range jumper by UNCW guard Carrie Gross cut into that run, the Seawolves scored another six unanswered points to extend their lead to double-digits. 

Just 20 seconds before halftime, UNCW guard Britany Range knocked down three free throws to cut Stony Brook’s lead down to just eight points. However, UNCW center Mingaile Urmuleviciute made a crucial mistake when she fouled center Sherese Pittman at the buzzer. Pittman promptly knocked down both free throws to give Stony Brook a 10-point lead going into the break.

The Seawolves kept the momentum from the first half going at the start of the third quarter, going on a 13-0 run over the first 4:55. Guard Gigi Gonzalez sparked the run with a nice mid-range jumper and hit a three-pointer halfway through it to keep it going. Warren and Pittman chipped in with layups and jumpers of their own to give Stony Brook a 23-point lead.

By that point, the lead Stony Brook had built was insurmountable for the Seahawks to overcome. Though UNCW was more competitive in the fourth quarter than it was in the previous two, the Seawolves put their opponents away behind hot shooting from Gonzalez. She was automatic from downtown, hitting a pair of three-pointers and making a layup in between to help maintain Stony Brook’s big lead. 

Stony Brook’s defense suffocated UNCW for the rest of the game, holding it to just 33.3% shooting in the fourth quarter. This helped ice the victory and extinguish any chances of a late-game comeback by the Seahawks.

After a huge weekend sweep, head coach Ashley Langford commended her team for pulling off yet another big road win late in the season.

“Proud of our team for closing out the weekend with another win,” Langford said in a postgame interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “Wins are hard in February and especially on the road. Glad to be going home 2-0.”

Stony Brook had a decent day offensively, shooting 41.8% from the field. The Seawolves scored 15 points off UNCW’s 16 turnovers and surrendered only eight points off 13 turnovers. Stony Brook dominated down low, outscoring the Seahawks 24-8 in the paint.

Gonzalez scored a team-leading 22 points on 8-for-12 shooting, going 4-for-6 from three-point range. She also had three steals and three assists. Pittman was the second-leading scorer for the team with 18 points on 6-for-15 shooting. Warren added another 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting. 

Pittman and forward Shamarla King co-led the team with nine rebounds each. King also led the team with four assists.

Gross was UNCW’s leading scorer with 20 points on 7-for-18 shooting. The rest of her team struggled mightily, as Stony Brook’s defense held the Seahawks to just 30.6% shooting from the floor and 26.7% from deep. 

After a two-game road trip, Stony Brook returns to Island Federal Arena on Friday for a matchup with the Hampton Pirates. The Pirates are 10-14 this season and 7-7 in conference play. Hampton is coming off a 72-61 win against Towson on Sunday. Opening tip-off will be at 6:31 p.m.

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