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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Scoreless drought hands Stony Brook women’s basketball first loss

Shooting guard Victoria Keenan dribbles the ball against Holy Cross on Sunday, Nov. 19. Keenan led the Stony Brook women’s basketball team with 16 points on Sunday at Minnesota. STANLEY ZHENG/THE STATESMAN

An 11-minute scoring drought in the second half ultimately led the Stony Brook women’s basketball team to its first loss of the season.

After winning their first five games of the 2023-24 season, the Seawolves’ (5-1) rally fell short against the Minnesota Golden Gophers (5-1) in Minneapolis on Sunday. Stony Brook’s offense stalled in the fourth quarter, ultimately sealing its 67-54 defeat.

The Seawolves’ only lead came after small forward Kelis Corley knocked down a mid-range jump shot on their opening possession. Minnesota rode its bigs in the first quarter, as power forward Mallory Heyer and center Sophie Hart combined for 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting to give their team a 20-16 lead. The Golden Gophers stayed hot and opened the second frame with a 13-5 run to extend their lead to 12 points.

With just over three minutes remaining in the first half, point guard Gigi Gonzalez scored five unanswered points to spark a 10-2 run that she capped off with a three-pointer. With Minnesota’s lead trimmed down to four points, Hart drove to the basket and laid one in just three seconds before halftime to make it 37-31.

At the start of the third quarter, power forward Sherese Pittman came out firing, as she scored Stony Brook’s first eight points. After Pittman’s strong opening efforts, shooting guard Victoria Keenan knocked down a layup and Corley hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 44-44 with five minutes left in the third quarter.

After tying the game, the Seawolves went scoreless over the next 11 minutes and 24 seconds, missing their next 18 shots. The cold spell allowed the Golden Gophers to go on an 18-0 run to capture a 62-44 lead. Stony Brook finally snapped its scoring drought almost seven minutes into the fourth quarter with a layup from Keenan. However, the 18-point deficit was too much to overcome and Minnesota coasted to victory.

Head coach Ashley Langford said that facing an obstacle like the Golden Gophers will help her players down the road.

“Today was a challenge that we needed,” Langford said in a postgame interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “We will learn from this experience and get better.”

The Seawolves struggled from the field on Sunday, as they shot just 31.3% from the overall. They gave Minnesota a handful of tough shots, holding it to a 39.7% field goal percentage, but their shooting inefficiencies undid their shot defense’s performance. Stony Brook shot 33.3% from deep, with most of the damage being done by Keenan’s 4-for-8 three-point shooting.

Keenan was the Seawolves’ most lethal weapon, as she shot 6-for-10 from the field and led them with 16 points. She also contributed four rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Outside of their singular hot streaks, Gonzalez and Pittman struggled with their shooting again. Gonzalez failed to record a basket in the second half and finished the game with 13 points on 4-of-14 shooting. She only recorded three assists while turning the ball over six times. Pittman scored 10 points on a 4-for-13 shooting clip while pulling down nine rebounds.

Center Khari Clark — the team’s leading scorer — got herself into foul trouble early on, limiting her minutes in crunch time. Clark finished the game with a season-low four points and shot just 2-for-7.

Hart and Heyer dominated Stony Brook, co-leading their team with 17 points apiece. Minnesota shooting guard Mara Braun also chimed in with 12 points. Point guard Amaya Battle vied for a triple-double by hauling in 12 rebounds, but she finished with just seven points and nine assists.

The Seawolves lost the battle down low. They were outscored 36-20 in the paint and outrebounded 45-43.

Stony Brook will return to Island Federal Arena on Saturday where it will host the Buffalo Bulls. The Bulls are 5-1 this season and have won four in a row after blowing out Kutztown University — an NCAA Division II team — 87-47 on Sunday. Opening tip-off is set for 1 p.m.

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