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Stony Brook women’s basketball devours Delaware State, improves to 5-0

Point guard Gigi Gonzalez pushes through contact against Holy Cross on Sunday, Nov. 19. Gonzalez posted her first career double-double on Wednesday against Delaware State. STANLEY ZHENG/THE STATESMAN

The Stony Brook women’s basketball team started its Thanksgiving feast a day early with a 45-point blowout victory.

The Seawolves (5-0) remained undefeated on Wednesday afternoon with an 86-41 decimation over the Delaware State Hornets (0-5) at Island Federal Arena. The win was Stony Brook’s first by more than 40 points since the last time the two teams met up on Nov. 9, 2021.

For the second game in a row, it was over by the end of the first quarter. The Seawolves went on a pair of 9-0 runs on the backs of six different scorers to take an 18-3 lead into the second frame. Delaware State power forward Arianna Johnson made her team’s only field goal of the opening period, as Stony Brook held its opponents to just 1-of-14 shooting from the floor and 0-for-4 from deep.

It was the second consecutive game in which the Seawolves took at least a five-possession lead after one quarter. They have outscored their opponents 42-8 in the first quarter during this stretch, to which head coach Ashley Langford attributes to execution and focus from the players.

“We’re trying to dominate from the beginning, and I really just give credit to the team,” Langford said in a postgame press conference. “They’ve just been locked in, they’ve been mentally focused and they’ve got some edge. It’s paid off in the last two games.”

As opposed to the previous game against Holy Cross, Stony Brook never took its foot off the gas. The Seawolves’ first-half lead expanded as large as 26 points on three separate occasions, allowing Langford to empty most of her bench and give the backups some playing time. With the reserves on the court, Stony Brook’s lead shrunk to 19 points, but point guard Gigi Gonzalez got two back by scooping in a buzzer-beating layup with her left hand as the first half expired.

The Seawolves got even better after the break, as they had their highest-scoring quarter in the third frame. Shooting guard Zaida Gonzalez and small forward Kelis Corley heated up on both ends of the court and got to their spots with ease, giving their team a 30-point lead into the fourth quarter.

Stony Brook completed another plus-15 quarter in the final 10 minutes to wrap up its masterpiece. Just inside of two minutes into the fourth quarter, a touchdown pass from Gigi Gonzalez to center Khari Clark helped the Seawolves pick up where they left off. They scored the first 12 points of the period to go up by 42 and held the Hornets scoreless through the first four minutes.

As the clock wound down to three minutes, Gigi Gonzalez drove the lane and dumped it off to center Delaney Yarborough, who banked in a layup to give the former her first career double-double. Gonzalez tied her career-high with 10 assists, three of which came on full-court dimes to Clark.

After having one of her best games as a pure facilitator, Gonzalez gave the credit to the shooters around her.

“It definitely was a team thing,” Gonzalez said. “People running their lanes, people being able to get me open so then I can get other people open, and then seeing the floor as well.”

One of those shooters — power forward Shamarla King — was perfect from an efficiency standpoint. King scored 12 points on 4-of-4 shooting while knocking down both of her three-pointers and free throws. She did not commit a foul nor a turnover in her 23 minutes of work off the bench and hauled in six rebounds.

King credited her flawless performance to hard work and execution of the game plan.

“We’ve been getting extra shots up, so obviously that’s paying off,” King said. “Staying sharp, doing what we do and just being disciplined; I focused on that today and it really paid off.”

Stony Brook’s blowout is reflected accurately by the numbers. The Seawolves posted a .457/.320/.737 shooting line and improved their field goal percentage in each quarter. On defense, they allowed just a 26.4% field goal percentage. Delaware State failed to help itself at all, knocking down just one three-pointer in 19 attempts (5.3%) and making only two of its 10 free throws. The Hornets leading scorer was shooting guard Naomi Zulueta, who totaled only nine points while shooting just 4-for-11.

Stony Brook outrebounded the Delaware State 56-40. The Seawolves were far more generous with the ball, dishing out 22 assists to the Hornets’ four.

Clark led all scorers with 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting but only pulled down two rebounds. Gigi Gonzalez struggled with efficiency, scoring 11 points on 4-of-14 shooting, but her 10 assists and six rebounds made up for her misses.

Power forward Sherese Pittman made an impact on both ends, shooting 3-for-8 and scoring 11 points while also leading the team with three blocks and adding a steal. Her eight rebounds co-led the team with Corley.

Stony Brook will now get a three-day break for Thanksgiving before traveling to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Sunday. The Golden Gophers are 4-1 this year after blowing out Cal State Northridge 84-31 on Wednesday. Opening tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.

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About the Contributor
Mike Anderson, Sports Editor
Mike Anderson is the Sports Editor at The Statesman. He is a senior majoring in journalism with aspirations of becoming a sports journalist. His love of sports comes from his time spent as a baseball player. As a reporter for The Statesman, he has covered baseball, softball, football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men's and women's lacrosse, women's volleyball and hockey. He has also interned at Axcess Sports as a high school and college baseball and softball reporter. He is a local product from Port Jefferson, N.Y. and is a diehard Mets, Jets, Nets and Islanders fan.
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