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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Stony Brook women’s basketball washes Elon with record-breaking defense

Power forward Sherese Pittman (left) looks to pass the ball to fellow power forward Shamarla King (right) as she rolls into the paint against Elon on Sunday, Feb. 18. Pittman and King were big parts of Stony Brook’s historic effort on Sunday. MACKENZIE YADDAW/THE STATESMAN

Just a week after having its best defensive performance in eight years, the Stony Brook women’s basketball team one-upped itself with its greatest showing in program history.

Hosting an Elon Phoenix (9-17, 5-8 CAA) team who had just eight players active, the Seawolves (21-3, 11-2 CAA) routed them 61-32 on Sunday afternoon at Island Federal Arena. Stony Brook’s 32 points allowed was its fewest ever at the NCAA Division I level.

All the while, down in Greensboro, N.C., Monmouth upset North Carolina A&T (N.C. A&T) with an 80-76 victory. By beating Elon while N.C. A&T lost, the Seawolves took sole possession of first place in the Coastal Athletic Association (CAA).

Stony Brook’s defense picked a good day to break a record, as its offense did not have a great performance. As a team, the Seawolves shot just 34.4% from the field and 22.9% in the first half. However, none of those issues came back to bite, as they held the Phoenix to just a .210/.100/.500 shooting line and forced 17 turnovers.

Head coach Ashley Langford gave all the credit to the defense.

“That’s the only reason why we won the game today,” Langford said in a postgame press conference. “That’s how it’s going to be in the tournament. It’s going to be grinding games; we’ve got to grind it out. So I’m glad we had that experience today because today was a grind.”

It started off slowly for Stony Brook, who made only one of its 11 shots through the opening four minutes. Power forward Sherese Pittman steadied the ship, scoring eight points on 3-of-5 shooting while the rest of her teammates went a combined 1-for-12 from the field. Pittman’s efforts gave the Seawolves an 11-10 lead by the end of the first quarter.

Struggles continued on the offensive end for Stony Brook going into the second quarter, as missed layups and costly turnovers stymied its offense. Just past three minutes into the frame, Elon small forward Diamond Monroe put her team up 15-12 with a three-pointer. Monroe’s triple forced the Seawolves’ defense to take action — which they did.

Over the next five and a half minutes, the Phoenix failed to find the scoreboard. During the scoreless stretch, Pittman got herself a layup before shooting guard Victoria Keenan drilled a catch-and-shoot three-pointer off the left wing to take the lead back for good. Just inside of three minutes left in the first half, center Khari Clark stepped back and knocked down a fadeaway jump shot from the low post to cap off a 7-0 run, growing the advantage to 19-15.

Elon halved the lead during the quarter’s final minute, but a high-arcing three by shooting guard Zaida Gonzalez off the left wing with just two seconds remaining put Stony Brook up 24-19 by halftime.

Had it not been for Pittman’s 13 points and nine rebounds in the first half, the Seawolves may have been in some danger. Pittman attributed her heroics to chemistry with her teammates.

“My teammates trust me, and I trust them, so they’re not getting it going, they trust me to get it going,” Pittman said.

Stony Brook got into a groove on offense once the third quarter hit, starting with a pair of layups by point guard Gigi Gonzalez and a nifty finish by power forward Shamarla King. The Phoenix answered right back with a layup by power forward Maya Johnson to cut the Seawolves’ lead down to 30-23 with just 6:45 left in the frame.

Neither side scored over the next three minutes. Keenan broke the silence by hitting a running floater on the fast break after flagging down a long rebound to extend the lead back to nine points. On the next offensive possession, a tough three-point play by Clark over Elon point guard Regina Walton put Stony Brook up by 12. Keenan followed Clark with a three-pointer to break the game open.

Fueled by fast-break opportunities created by their swarming defense, Zaida Gonzalez and King each layed one in to cap off the scoring run at 12 unanswered points. A pair of free throws by Pittman with just five seconds left in the third quarter gave the Seawolves a 20-point lead entering the fourth.

Stony Brook never looked back, as the Phoenix mustered only eight points on 26.7% shooting in the fourth quarter, giving them a plethora of chances to pad their lead. Clark knocked down a pair of threes and equaled Elon’s scoring total in the fourth quarter to help put the bow on the historic triumph.

Despite finishing just 5-for-13 from the field, Pittman led her squad with 17 points, 12 rebounds and three assists. It was her first double-double of the year. She also blocked a shot on defense.

Clark was the only other double-digit scorer in the game, logging 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting. She also recorded six rebounds and a block.

Though Clark did not put up gaudy offensive numbers, she was happy to contribute to the historic defensive effort.

“There’s so many aspects of basketball,” Clark said. “If I’m not scoring, well, get it back on defense. That’s all I have to do.”

Off the bench, King scored six points on 3-of-5 shooting and racked up eight rebounds and a steal. Keenan led the team with two steals and grabbed five rebounds.

The Phoenix finished with no double-digit scorers, as Johnson led them with just eight points on 4-of-9 shooting.

The Seawolves will get a full week to prepare for their next opponent, as they will welcome the Northeastern Huskies to Island Federal next Sunday to complete the season series. The Huskies are 8-15 this year and 4-9 in CAA play after losing 66-46 to Hofstra on Sunday.

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