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Stony Brook women’s basketball pummels Northeastern behind historic defense

Center Khari Clark puts up a layup against Towson on Friday, Feb. 9. Clark led the Stony Brook women’s basketball team with 15 points and nine rebounds on Sunday. MACKENZIE YADDAW/THE STATESMAN

After putting in its worst defensive performance of the season, the Stony Brook women’s basketball team played its best defense in over eight years.

The Seawolves (19-3, 9-2 CAA) were shipped up to Boston to take on the Northeastern Huskies (8-13, 4-7 CAA) on Sunday afternoon. Stony Brook took over from the opening tip and strung together a 71-35 victory in wire-to-wire fashion.

The Seawolves’ 35 points allowed was their fewest against an NCAA Division I opponent since Jan. 18, 2016 when they beat Hartford 58-35. Stony Brook smothered Northeastern, holding it to a .275/.176/.500 shooting line while forcing 15 turnovers and winning the rebound battle 49-25.

Mixing their elite defense with 39.3% three-point shooting, the Seawolves were simply no match for the Huskies on Sunday. Head coach Ashley Langford loved what she saw after losing a game that they could have won on Friday.

“I’m proud of our team for the way we responded coming off a loss,” Langford said in a postgame interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “I thought our defense was outstanding and it was nice to have multiple players make three’s.”

Shooting guard Zaida Gonzalez opened the game by making back-to-back three-pointers on each of the first two possessions. Northeastern power forward Oralye Kiefer got her team on the board from mid-range before fellow power forward Jaelyn Batts made a free throw, cutting the Seawolves’ lead down to just three points.

However, the game never got any closer after that, as consecutive three-point makes by shooting guard Victoria Keenan and small forward Kelis Corley sparked a 10-0 run to put Stony Brook up 16-3. The Huskies fought back to get within seven points, but Keenan dropped another three on them with just 12 seconds left in the first quarter to take a 10-point lead into the second.

Just 23 ticks into the second quarter, Northeastern point guard Derin Erdogan knocked down a fast-break three-pointer to make it 21-14, but the Seawolves scored the next eight points to neutralize it. Center Deja Bristol broke the Huskies’ dry spell by making a free throw with 6:53 remaining in the first half, but Stony Brook held them scoreless over the rest of the frame.

The remnants of the first half all belonged to the Seawolves, as point guards Gigi Gonzalez and Janay Brantley each drained a three-pointer to headline a 9-0 run, taking a 38-15 lead into halftime.

Stony Brook’s defensive masterclass carried into the third quarter. All Northeastern mustered up was a mid-range jump shot by shooting guard Maddie Vizza and a free throw by center Sophia Carlisle. While the Seawolves were clamping down on defense, seven different shooters got themselves a bucket, three of which came from downtown.

Between the second and third quarters, the Huskies scored just seven points while shooting 2-for-21 from the field and 1-for-9 from three-point range.

Stony Brook took a 38-point lead into the fourth quarter, which was far too steep for Northeastern to overcome.

Center Khari Clark led the way for the Seawolves in the win, scoring 15 points while shooting both 5-for-6 from the floor and from the free-throw line. She added nine rebounds, two steals, an assist and a block.

The Gonzalez girls both struggled with their shot, but they still cracked double figures. Zaida Gonzalez scored 13 points on 4-of-13 shooting while going 3-for-6 from deep. Gigi Gonzalez finished with 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting but led the team with six assists while also collecting five rebounds and a steal.

Despite shooting just 4-for-11 from the field, power forward Sherese Pittman had an impactful game, recording nine points, seven rebounds, four assists and a steal. Keenan scored nine points on 3-of-6 shooting, all of which was from deep. Brantley finished with seven points on 3-of-4 shooting and picked up four boards and two steals.

Erdogan and Batts co-led the Huskies with nine points apiece on a combined 7-of-19 shooting.

The 36-point victory was Stony Brook’s fifth win by more than 30 points this year. The win helps it remain in first place in the Coastal Athletic Association (CAA), tied with North Carolina A&T as the top dogs.

The Seawolves will return to action on Friday night to compete in the second and final installment of the Battle of Long Island this year, as they will host the Hofstra Pride. Opening tip-off is scheduled for 6:31 p.m. The Pride are 8-13 on the season and 2-8 in CAA play after beating Towson 58-44 on Sunday.

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About the Contributor
Kenny Spurrell
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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