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Stony Brook women’s basketball’s streak ends in overtime loss

Shooting guard Victoria Keenan drives past a University of North Carolina Wilmington defender on Jan. 7. Keenan scored 18 points in the Stony Brook women’s basketball team’s loss to Campbell on Sunday. ANGELINA LIVIGNI/THE STATESMAN

Though it came in as one of the 10 best free-throw shooting teams in the nation, it was the foul line that finally brought the Stony Brook women’s basketball team’s winning streak to an end.

Untimely misses snapped the Seawolves’ (15-2, 5-1 CAA) 10-game winning streak against the Campbell Camels (9-8, 2-4 CAA) on Sunday in North Carolina. After blowing a lead that lasted over three quarters, Stony Brook forced overtime for the first time this year, only to lose 75-73.

After allowing the first two baskets of the game, the Seawolves went on a 15-3 run, highlighted by a four-point play by shooting guard Victoria Keenan to take an eight-point lead into the second quarter. Their hot stretch carried into the second frame, where another three-pointer by Keenan carried a 7-2 run to spot them a 13-point lead — their largest of the day. From that point forward, it was all Campbell.

Over the rest of the second quarter, a pair of threes by shooting guard Shy Tuelle jolted life back into the Camels, allowing them to cut their deficit down to four points by halftime. Through the first half of the third quarter, Stony Brook fended off Campbell and grew its lead to eight, but small forward Brittany Staves flipped the momentum with a tough layup over two defenders.

Staves’ bank shot sparked a 12-0 run that put the Camels up 42-38. However, Keenan continued to carry the Seawolves with a catch-and-shoot triple and a layup towards the end of the third quarter to give them a one-point lead heading into the fourth. The fourth period saw nine lead changes, including a three-pointer by Tuelle to give Campbell a 65-63 lead with 2:03 left in regulation.

Stony Brook tightened up after Tuelle’s shot and shut the Camels out for the rest of regulation. With just over 36 seconds remaining, center Khari Clark took an inbound pass on the low post and blew past Campbell center Christabel Ezumah before going up and under the basket to tie the game at 65 apiece. Neither team pulled off a miracle, sending it to overtime.

The extra frame started perfectly for the Seawolves, with point guard Gigi Gonzalez hitting a layup to break the tie. However, Ezumah responded with one of her own. Now knotted up, Staves put the Camels in front for good by driving the baseline and laying one in through a foul before converting on her and-one. Ezumah tacked on a pair of free-throw makes on the next possession to go up by two scores.

With just 42 seconds left, Keenan got Stony Brook within a point when her triple rattled off the front of the rim and in. After a quick foul, Staves made only one of two foul shots to keep the Seawolves alive. Inside the final 30 seconds, Gonzalez drove the lane and drew the foul she was looking for, giving her a chance to tie the game. However, she bounced the first free throw off the rim and drained the second, only halving the deficit.

When Campbell gained possession back, it quickly fed the ball to Ezumah, who missed a wide open layup to give Stony Brook one last chance to win it. With the clock ticking under 10 seconds, Gonzalez once again drove towards the basket, but her shot was blocked by point guard Gemma Nuñez, sealing the Camels’ win.

During their final possessions, the Seawolves were without Clark and power forward Sherese Pittman, who both fouled out during the waning minutes of regulation.

Stony Brook allowed Campbell to shoot 44.4% from the field and 35% from deep. Head coach Ashley Langford blamed the loss on the faulty shot defense.

“We didn’t defend well today and ultimately didn’t get the defensive stops that we needed to win the game,” Langford said in a postgame interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “We will learn from this and get better.”

The Seawolves were efficient shooting the ball, posting a .417/.409/.778 shooting line. Keenan led the team with 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including 5-of-11 from deep. Gonzalez scored 15 points while shooting 5-for-15 and dishing out five assists. Clark finished with 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting and Pittman scored 10 while shooting just 2-for-4.

Power forward Shamarla King led the team with nine rebounds off the bench.

Stony Brook’s turnovers wasted its good shooting performance. The Seawolves coughed it up 19 times, 10 of which came from steals by seven different Camels. Campbell scored 18 points off turnovers, which kept it in the game.

Ezumah was the best player on the court, as she led all scorers with 28 points on 10-of-17 shooting. Ezumah also led her team with seven rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Staves scored 19 points while shooting 7-for-15 and hauling in five boards.

Stony Brook will look to get back on track next Sunday when they return to Island Federal Arena to host the Drexel Dragons. The Dragons are 9-8 this year and 4-2 in Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) play after losing 63-55 to Monmouth on Sunday. Opening tip-off is set for 2 p.m.

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