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Clark’s career night extends Stony Brook women’s basketball’s win streak to 10

Center Khari Clark shoots a free throw against Charleston on Friday, Jan. 19. Clark led the Stony Brook women’s basketball team with a career-high 28 points on Friday. ANGELINA LIVIGNI/THE STATESMAN

In what has been a career year for center Khari Clark, Friday night’s game was an appropriate notch on her belt.

The Seawolves (15-1, 5-0 CAA) returned to Island Federal Arena and took down the Charleston Cougars (11-5, 3-2 CAA) 81-71 behind a career-high 28 points from Clark. The win not only kept Stony Brook atop the Coastal Athletic Association’s (CAA) standings, but it also grew its winning streak to 10 games.

In what was a battle between the CAA’s top two teams, Charleston gave the Seawolves a run for their money. The Cougars jumped out to a 9-0 lead and never trailed by more than three possessions through the first three quarters. 

Head coach Ashley Langford attributed the game’s competitiveness to their opponent’s eagerness to finally hand them a conference loss.

“Everybody wants to be that one team that comes in and does knock us off,” Langford said in a postgame press conference. “We understand the mentality of every opponent that we play. But on any given night … if we’re doing what we’re doing, it’s tough to beat us.”

Stony Brook was slow coming out of the gate, going scoreless through the opening 4:13 of play. After falling behind 9-0, the Seawolves tightened up on defense and forced a 1-for-10 dry spell by Charleston, allowing them to rally and even things up at 11 apiece.

In the second quarter, Stony Brook took control after being spotted six points by both power forward Sherese Pittman and shooting guard Victoria Keenan. Back-to-back three-pointers by Keenan and power forward Shamarla King helped the Seawolves take a 33-28 lead into halftime.

Clark came alive in the third quarter, scoring 18 of the team’s 23 points in the frame. She shot 7-for-8 in the period, connecting on her sole attempt from deep and draining all three of her free throws. Everything else was rather simple; Stony Brook’s guards would drive the lane and dump it off to Clark, who took care of the rest at almost every turn.

Despite Clark’s dominance, point guard Jenna Annecchiarico made three triples in the period to keep the Cougars within seven points going into the final frame.

The Seawolves took their largest lead of the game just two minutes into the fourth quarter with a layup by Pittman and back-to-back threes by King and point guard Gigi Gonzalez. However, their 11-point cushion was cut to five after back-to-back three-pointers by Charleston small forward Jada Logan and power forward Taryn Barbot.

Over the next three and a half minutes, the Cougars answered every score by Stony Brook. A three-pointer by Charleston shooting guard Alexis Andrews with just 1:12 remaining kept it a five-point game.

With 51.3 seconds remaining, Gonzalez isolated near half court to run some time off the clock. She attempted to penetrate the defense but got walled off, passing the ball out to Pittman at the top of the key. Pittman drove the lane and spun off her right shoulder, taking a long stride to split two defenders and lay it in as the shot clock expired.

Pittman’s shot made it a three-possession game with just over half a minute remaining, putting the game out of the Cougars’ reach. Free throws by Gonzalez and point guard Janay Brantley after take fouls put the game’s finishing touches on.

Pittman knew the magnitude of the situation and credited her teammates for finding her in the big spot.

“I think it really all comes down to trust,” Pittman said. “I think my teammates trust me to go make a play … it was down the stretch and I kind of knew we needed a bucket to put it away.”

Pittman was instrumental in the win, scoring eight of her 12 points in the fourth quarter alone. She also led the team with seven rebounds and collected two assists, a block and a steal while shooting 6-for-9 from the field.

Clark’s 28 points came on 12-of-15 shooting while making her only three-pointer and all three of her free throws. She also tallied six rebounds, three blocks, an assist and a steal in her dominant performance. She may have done even more damage had she not been in foul trouble, as she had 26 points through the first three quarters.

The Seawolves dished out 22 assists on Friday, 11 of which went to Clark. She showed gratitude to her teammates for being able to give her opportunities to score. 

“I’m just really grateful that my teammates trust me with the ball,” Clark said. “I know half of my points are assisted baskets, so the fact that they give me the ball and I’m able to execute, there’s nothing more I can ask for.”

Gonzalez struggled shooting the ball, going just 3-for-14 from the field and 1-for-6 from deep and finishing with 12 points. Despite this, she impacted the game with eight assists and three rebounds.

Stony Brook shot 49.1% from the field, which was its second-highest mark of the season. It also held the second-best scoring offense in the CAA to just 36.6% shooting. The Seawolves struggled to defend the perimeter, allowing Charleston to shoot 46.2% from beyond the arc.

After the short stay, Stony Brook will go back on the road to take on the Campbell Camels in North Carolina on Sunday. Opening tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. The Camels are 8-8 overall and 1-4 in conference play and have already lost to the Seawolves this year in blowout fashion.

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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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