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Gigi Gonzalez’s career game lifts Stony Brook women’s basketball to comeback win

Point guard Gigi Gonzalez pulls up from the shot corner against the University of North Carolina Wilmington on Sunday, Jan. 7. Gonzalez scored a career-high 30-points on Friday at Towson. ANGELINA LIVIGNI/THE STATESMAN

After spending so many weeks running away with games, the Stony Brook women’s basketball team had to work a little harder to grind its latest victory out.

Down in Maryland, the Seawolves (13-1, 3-0 CAA) came from behind to beat the Towson Tigers (8-5, 1-2 CAA) on Friday night for their eighth consecutive win. In a game that saw nine ties and nine lead changes, a career-high 30 points from point guard Gigi Gonzalez was enough to bring Stony Brook to a 77-65 victory.

The fifth-year Seawolf shot 9-for-14 from the floor and connected on all four of her three-point attempts in her legacy game, while also knocking down eight of her nine free throws. Gonzalez also pulled down six rebounds and dished out a pair of assists. She took over the game in the fourth quarter, where she scored 14 points to achieve her first career 30-piece. 

Stony Brook started off slow, falling behind 20-12 in the first quarter. However, a pair of low-post buckets by power forward Sherese Pittman and a three-point play by shooting guard Zaida Gonzalez shrunk the deficit down to three. The Seawolves took their first lead of the game less than three minutes into the second frame with a three-pointer from shooting guard Victoria Keenan.

After two more ties and another lead change in Towson’s favor, Stony Brook went into halftime down 37-35. Both teams continued to jockey for position in the third quarter until nine unanswered points by the Seawolves gave them a 52-45 lead with 2:20 left, capped off with a three by Gigi Gonzalez. The seven-point cushion was cut down to two when the Tigers went on a 7-2 run to close out the third frame, with star power forward Kylie Kornegay-Lucas knocking down a three to end the stretch.

Through the opening six minutes of the fourth quarter, both sides continued to joust. Three ties and three lead changes saw Towson go up 65-64, with a pull-up, mid-range jump shot from Kornegay-Lucas giving her team the slight advantage. After her bucket, it was all Stony Brook the rest of the way.

The Seawolves put the clamps down on the Tigers’ shooters, holding them scoreless over the final 4:11 of play. Towson misfired on each of its last eight shots, allowing Gigi Gonzalez to spearhead a 13-0 run to win the game. She rattled home a three-pointer off the left wing with just under four minutes remaining, sparking the scoring streak.

Gonzalez wound up scoring the first 11 points of the game-winning stretch before point guard Janay Brantley put the finishing touches on with a pair of free throws.

Head coach Ashley Langford was pleased with the way her team remained stoic in the closest game it has played since November.

“We showed a lot of poise and resiliency tonight in a tough environment,” Langford said in a postgame interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “I thought we executed well down the stretch and had contributions from multiple players … it was a total team effort.”

Stony Brook proved why it is the most efficient offensive team in the Coastal Athletic Association (CAA), shooting 48.2% from the floor and a season-best 50% from deep. The Seawolves won despite attempting 11 fewer shots than the opposition, while holding the Tigers to just a .388/.207/.636 shooting line on the night.

Along with Gigi Gonzalez, three other Stony Brook scorers cracked double figures. Pittman ended with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting, knocking down both of her attempts from deep and the free-throw line. She also tallied three rebounds, three assists and two steals. 

Center Khari Clark struggled with efficiency, yet she still recorded her fifth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds. She also added three assists and a steal. Zaida Gonzalez rounded out the group, scoring 10 points while shooting 4-for-9 and hauling in four rebounds.

The Seawolves’ bench had a good day, as well. Brantley scored a season-high eight points on 2-of-4 shooting and collected two steals. Keenan scored five points while making two of her three shots, including her only three-pointer. She also pulled down four rebounds. Power forward Shamarla King did not score, but she totaled five rebounds and a steal while co-leading the team with three assists.

Kornegay-Lucas did what she has done all year, recording 17 points, eight rebounds, six assists, three steals and a block. In the scoring department, Towson shooting guard Patricia Anumgba trailed her with 14 points on 6-of-14 shooting.

Stony Brook will try to continue its hot streak on Sunday against the Delaware Blue Hens in Newark, Del. Opening tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. The Blue Hens are 6-8 overall and 2-0 in CAA play after beating Hampton 76-61 last Sunday.

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About the Contributor
Kenny Spurrell, Assistant Sports Editor
Kenny Spurrell is an Assistant Sports Editor of The Statesman. He is a senior English major and journalism minor at Stony Brook University. He began covering sports for The Statesman during the Fall 2021 semester. Since then, he has covered men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s lacrosse and football. His passion for sports derives from his many years of playing basketball, football and baseball. He is a Long Island native from Selden, N.Y. and has dreams of becoming a sports journalist.
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