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Free-throw troubles cost Stony Brook women’s basketball in overtime loss

Power forward Sherese Pittman takes a jump shot from the post over a Towson defender on Friday, Feb. 9. Pittman totaled 17 points and six rebounds in the loss. MACKENZIE YADDAW/THE STATESMAN

After coming into the night shooting 77.4% from the free-throw line, the Stony Brook women’s basketball team missed 13 foul shots, which ultimately led to its undoing.

After 10 consecutive wins at Island Federal Arena to begin their 2023-24 campaign, the Seawolves (18-3, 8-2 CAA) finally fell in front of their home fans against the Towson Tigers (13-8, 5-5 CAA) on Friday night. A season-worse 83 points allowed and a .552 free throw percentage were too much for Stony Brook to overcome.

Based on what she saw in the days leading up to the game, head coach Ashley Langford saw this loss coming.

“I’m a firm believer in how you practice is how you’re going to play,” Langford said in a postgame press conference. “I don’t think we practiced well this week. And for me, this is a direct outcome of it.”

Despite their poor shooting from the charity stripe and ineffective defense, the Seawolves were still in the driver’s seat with under a minute left in regulation.

With 42 seconds left, shooting guard Victoria Keenan found center Khari Clark on the inside. The reigning Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) Player of the Week received the pass, took two dribbles to her right and spun into a fadeaway jump shot from the low post. Clark knocked it down to give Stony Brook a 71-69 lead with 38.5 seconds remaining, forcing Towson head coach Laura Harper to call a timeout.

Following the stoppage, the inbound pass found power forward Kylie Kornegay-Lucas, who easily blew by point guard Janay Brantley and layed the ball in to tie things up for the Tigers. 

On the Seawolves’ ensuing possession, Clark once again found space with a spin move but missed a layup. Kornegay-Lucas secured the rebound, but even after a timeout, Towson failed to get a final shot off, sending the contest to overtime.

In the extra period, Stony Brook’s offense disappeared. After a mid-range jumper by point guard Gigi Gonzalez gave the Seawolves a 73-71 advantage, they committed a trio of turnovers and missed their next three shots.

While Stony Brook was stumbling over itself, Kornegay-Lucas got to the foul line and tied the game at 73 with a pair of makes. With fewer than two minutes left in the extra frame, the Tigers took the lead when shooting guard Patricia Anumgba intercepted a pass on the wing from Clark and took it all the way for a fast-break layup.

During the game’s final minute, Kornegay-Lucas drained a mid-range jumper and a pair of free throws to put the Seawolves in a six-point hole with just 34.9 seconds left. From there, it became a foul-shot competition and Stony Brook failed to pull off the miracle. Anumgba hit four more free throws after being intentionally fouled to ice the game.

Towson hit all eight of its free throws during overtime. Conversely, the Seawolves went just 3-for-6 from the line, which changed the complexity of the game.

Stony Brook also struggled from deep, shooting just 22.2%. However, the team had no troubles from around the rim or mid-range, shooting at a 46.0% clip from the field.

Clark led the team with 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting but went just 4-for-8 from the foul line. She had a great game overall, as she led the squad with eight rebounds, two blocks and three steals.

Point guard Gigi Gonzalez scored 19 points while shooting 7-for-15. She also led the group with four assists, pulled down six rebounds and recorded two steals. However, she turned the ball over eight times and also misfired on all three of her three-point attempts.

Power forward Sherese Pittman had a similar night to Clark, scoring 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting while hauling in six rebounds and picking up three steals. Like Clark, she only made four of her eight free throws.

Though the Tigers shot just 39.7% from the field, they made 45% of their threes and 88.9% of their free-throw attempts.

Langford felt her team did not play with as much toughness as it typically does.

“We didn’t have any edge,” Langford said. “We didn’t play as hard as we could. We didn’t take away anything. They got layups, they got to the free-throw line, they got threes. We didn’t do our job.”

Kornegay-Lucas led the way for Towson with 25 points on 8-of-19 shooting. She went 8-for-9 from the line. On defense, she blocked a pair of shots and recorded a steal. Anumgba was her team’s second-leading scorer with 22 points on 8-of-21 shooting and paced the crew with four assists and two steals. Off the bench, shooting guard India Johnston scored nine points on 3-of-7 shooting, 3-of-6 of which was from deep.

The Seawolves will now travel to Boston to take on the Northeastern Huskies on Sunday. The Huskies are 8-12 this season and 4-6 in CAA play after falling 50-41 to Monmouth on Friday. Opening tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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About the Contributor
Alex Streinger, Assistant Sports Editor
Alex Streinger is an Assistant Sports Editor of The Statesman. He is a junior majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. He is the beat reporter of the Stony Brook men’s soccer and nationally-ranked women’s lacrosse teams. He interns at Movendi International, the largest independent global social movement for development through alcohol prevention.
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