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Three 16-point scorers charge Stony Brook women’s basketball past Longwood

Point guard Gigi Gonzalez takes a baseline jump shot while center Khari Clark calls for the ball against Longwood on Monday, Dec. 12. The two co-led the Stony Brook women’s basketball team with 16 points in the win. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

The season-long dominance continued for the Stony Brook women’s basketball team, who stacked up another wire-to-wire blowout on Monday.

The Seawolves (8-1) celebrated their last day of classes by crushing the Longwood Lancers (2-6) 85-49 at Island Federal Arena. Stony Brook shot nearly twice as well as its opponents, leading to the 36-point drubbing.

The Seawolves started the game in physical fashion, riding their bigs into the paint and scoring the game’s first nine points. They never looked back, taking an 18-6 lead by the end of the first quarter on the backs of six different scorers. Stony Brook’s dominance carried into the second quarter, as it finally found success on the perimeter through shooting guard Victoria Keenan to grow its lead to 25 points by halftime.

Longwood’s offense failed to muster up anything, as the Seawolves’ defense suffocated it to a tune of 17.9% shooting in the first half. On the other end of the court, nine different scorers combined to shoot 47.5% from the field for Stony Brook, handing it a 43-18 lead at the break. Center Khari Clark led all scorers with eight points while point guard Gigi Gonzalez and small forward Kelis Corley followed with seven apiece.

Head coach Ashley Langford credited the early runaway to her team’s three-point defense.

“A part of our defense is we don’t want rhythm threes, so we really just try to take that away,” Langford said in a postgame press conference. “I don’t think there was anything specific that we schemed any differently. We were just trying to be in their face with the ball pressure and take the rhythm threes away.”

The Seawolves continued to outmatch the Lancers in the second half, using their speed to cash in on some extra opportunities. Stony Brook sped up its offensive tempo in the third quarter and opened on an 11-5 run before forcing three turnovers within a 90-second span and converting them into six points. The extended run reached 21-5, handing the team a 41-point lead — its largest of the day.

Eight of the Seawolves’ 15 fast-break points came in the third quarter. Gonzalez had a pair of assists on fast-break scores in the frame.

“Just pushing the tempo like always,” Gonzalez said. “I think when I drive, I can get [the defense] to suck in and find my teammates.”

The third quarter was Stony Brook’s most dominant frame of the night, as it outscored Longwood 25-10 behind nine points from shooting guard Zaida Gonzalez to take a 40-point lead into the final frame. From there, the Seawolves coasted to victory.

The Gonzalez girls and Clark all co-led the team with 16 points apiece. Zaida Gonzalez continued her hot shooting, going 7-for-12 from the field and 2-for-3 from deep. After shooting 39.2% through the first six games of the season, Stony Brook’s new star two-guard has shot 57.5% over the last three contests. Gonzalez also blocked two shots and dished out three assists.

Along with her 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting, Gigi Gonzalez contributed six assists, four rebounds and three steals. Clark was perfect from the field, as she went 6-for-6 while adding five rebounds, three steals and one block.

Clark credited her effective shot selection to the work put in during practice.

“We just practice a lot,” Clark said. “I think that’s really one thing that we really focus on. Our in-game shots are really similar to the shots we take in practice, so that helps a lot.”

Other notable contributors were Corley, point guard Janay Brantley and power forwards Sherese Pittman and Shamarla King. Corley scored nine points on 4-of-6 shooting. Brantley played team-friendly basketball, tallying four assists, four rebounds, two blocks and a steal. Pittman added six points while shooting 2-for-3 and throwing in three assists. King led the bench with eight points on 4-of-8 shooting.

The Seawolves posted a .516/.318/.706 triple slash, which embarrassed Longwood’s .262/.154/.722 shooting line. Stony Brook also forced 21 turnovers on defense, directly leading to another 24 points.

The Seawolves won the battle of the boards as well, as they outrebounded the Lancers 45-38. King led them with 10 rebounds and Pittman followed with six.

Stony Brook will now get a nine-day rest period before returning to action on Thursday, Dec. 21. The team will take a day trip to New Rochelle, N.Y. to take on the Iona Gaels at 1 p.m. The Gaels are 5-3 this year and riding a four-game win streak after a 60-50 victory over Sacred Heart on Sunday. They will take on Niagara this Saturday before welcoming the Seawolves next week.

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