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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Gonzalez girls carry Stony Brook women’s basketball to domination over Buffalo

Shooting guard Zaida Gonzalez takes a corner three-pointer against Buffalo on Saturday, Dec. 2. Gonzalez scored a career-high 26 points in the blowout win over the Bulls. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

Though the Stony Brook women’s basketball team is no stranger to blowout wins, it had yet to put together a dominant victory over a high-caliber opponent.

That changed for the Seawolves (6-1) in an 83-52 win over the Buffalo Bulls (5-2) at Island Federal Arena on Saturday. Shooting guard Zaida Gonzalez and point guard Gigi Gonzalez had their fingerprints all over the game, combining for 48 points and nearly surpassing Buffalo’s point total themselves.

Zaida Gonzalez’s 26 points on 12-of-19 shooting were a career high and the most by a Stony Brook player this year, and she did all of her damage from the field. Gigi Gonzalez shot 7-for-12 and went 7-for-8 from the free-throw line for a season-high 22 points.

The Seawolves’ new stud shooting guard did most of her damage in the second half, scoring 20 points from all over the court. Her outburst led to Stony Brook outscoring the Bulls 53-28 after halftime.

“I was just pretty fired up,” Zaida Gonzalez said in a postgame press conference. “Those are all shots that I work on, so just knocking them down … I can really score the ball.”

After taking a 30-24 lead into the locker room with them, the Seawolves went on a 13-2 run to begin the second half. Small forward Kelis Corley sparked the run with a catch-and-shoot three-pointer off a dime from Gigi Gonzalez. On the next defensive possession, Corley grabbed a defensive rebound and hurled the ball down the court to Gonzalez, who quickly found center Khari Clark inside for an easy layup. 

Seven of Clark’s 15 points came during the 13-2 run. She finished with 12 rebounds — the most by a Stony Brook player this year. It was her third double-double of the season. Clark’s defense was suffocating, as she blocked three shots and added two steals.

The fourth quarter was one of the Seawolves’ more dominant frames of the season. Zaida Gonzalez scored seven points in just over a minute, knocking down shots from around the rim, mid-range and three-point territory.

With just over three minutes remaining, Gigi Gonzalez put the finishing touches on. She dished out three of her eight assists in that span, while also scoring six points herself.

Power forward Sherese Pittman used her physicality to score seven of her 12 points in the fourth quarter. On two separate occasions, she cut in through the backdoor to poach an offensive rebound before banking in a second chance layup. Later in the period, she added another bucket by tipping in a missed shot from Corley through traffic. She finished the game with 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked two shots.

Stony Brook’s offense does not seem to have lost a step following the departure of star shooting guard Annie Warren. Gigi Gonzalez attributes their success as a unit to strong team chemistry.

“Going through offensive execution is really helping us,” Gonzalez said. “It’s not forcing things, being able to draw people in and find my teammates. I think that really helped.”

Despite shooting 50% from the field as a team, the Seawolves missed their first four shots of the game and found themselves in a 22-22 tie midway through the second quarter. It was their All-Conference point guard who broke the deadlock and gave them the lead for good with a catch-and-shoot three off an assist from Corley.

That kind of back-and-forth ball movement between Gigi Gonzalez and her surrounding shooters is what allowed her to score as efficiently as she did.

“It’s looking around and being able to see when my teammates are open and need the ball, and then finding my shot when they’re covered,” Gonzalez said.

The offensive fireworks complemented a strong defensive effort that held Buffalo to a season-low 31.3% field goal percentage. Unable to sustain possessions, the Bulls were forced to take low-percentage shots and finished 6-for-27 from three-point range. Stony Brook added 10 steals and eight blocks — both season highs. The Gonzalez girls co-led the team with three steals apiece.

Head coach Ashley Langford credited the stout defensive performance to limiting Buffalo down low.

“We just played our disciplined defense,” Langford said. “We knew what they were trying to do. They wanted to score in the paint, so we just made an emphasis of that, which kind of fits into our defensive scheme anyway.”

The Seawolves have four games remaining before opening Coastal Athletic Association play, but they have already equaled their nonconference win total from last year. They will now turn their attention to the Yale Bulldogs, who they will host on Wednesday. The Bulldogs are 2-7 this year after an 84-73 loss to Merrimack.

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