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Stony Brook women’s basketball ties CAA rebounding record, secures outright title

Power forward Shamarla King pulls up from mid-range against North Carolina A&T on Sunday, March 3. King was one of three Stony Brook women’s basketball players with a double-digit number of rebounds on Thursday. CHRISTOPHER YANG/THE STATESMAN

In a year full of historic victories, the Stony Brook women’s basketball team racked up another one to kick off the final week of the 2023-24 regular season.

After securing at least a share of the Coastal Athletic Association’s (CAA) regular-season title, the Seawolves (24-3, 15-2 CAA) clinched it all for themselves in decimating fashion over the Hampton Pirates (3-24, 3-14 CAA) on Thursday night. Stony Brook was inefficient on offense, but its defense turned in another suffocating performance and tied the CAA record by hauling in 70 total rebounds to beat Hampton 71-35.

Both teams stumbled out of the gate, but a trio of three-pointers by shooting guard Victoria Keenan allowed the Seawolves to stay a step ahead of the Pirates for the first quarter and a half. A layup by Hampton small forward Camryn Hill cut Stony Brook’s lead down to just a point with eight minutes left in the second period.

Just 11 seconds after Hill’s bucket, point guard Gigi Gonzalez took a page out of her book and drove down the lane before banking one in with her left hand. Two possessions later, center Khari Clark made her presence felt for the first time, poaching an offensive rebound over a defender and scoring through a foul before converting the and-one. After getting a stop on defense, power forward Sherese Pittman went coast to coast and knocked down a fast-break layup to help the snowball get bigger.

The Pirates interrupted the scoring streak with a mid-range jump shot from shooting guard Cheyenne Talbot with 5:45 left in the second quarter. However, power forward Shamarla King responded just 15 seconds later by finishing around the rim. After the heavy rim pressure by Gigi Gonzalez, Clark, Pittman and King, shooting guard Zaida Gonzalez took the Seawolves inside and out.

Zaida Gonzalez sliced through Hampton’s defensive interior to lay one in before coming back on the next trip down the court with a second-chance, catch-and-shoot three-pointer. The Pirates got two points back with a jumper from power forward Le’Asia Foreman, but Gigi Gonzalez hit a pair of free throws with 59 seconds left in the half to cancel her out. Stony Brook’s 16-4 run put it up by 13 points going into halftime.

The game became a slaughter in the second half, as the Seawolves scored the first 12 points of the third quarter to go up by 25. A three-point play by Hill snapped the scoring streak, but both Keenan and Pittman drained a pair of free throws each while Clark and Gigi Gonzalez each added layups to outscore Hampton 20-4 in the third period.

After entering the fourth quarter up by 29 points, Stony Brook held the Pirates to just 22.2% shooting in the frame to finish the blowout.

After officially running away with the CAA’s regular-season championship, head coach Ashley Langford commended her players for the effort they have shown this year.

“I am so proud of this team and program,” Langford said in a postgame interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “It’s nice to see all of our hard work come to fruition.”

Pittman led the Seawolves with 15 points while shooting 4-for-5 shooting from the field, 1-for-2 from deep and 6-for-6 from the free-throw line. Pittman posted her second double-double of the year with a season-high 14 rebounds. She also blocked two shots and recorded one steal. Behind her, Clark tallied 13 points on 6-of-12 shooting while co-leading the team with 14 boards.

Gigi Gonzalez also scored 13 points while shooting just 4-of-16 from the field and missing all five of her three-point attempts. Gonzalez helped on the glass by hauling in seven rebounds. Her and Pittman co-led the team with three assists.

Keenan also struggled with efficiency, scoring 11 points on 3-of-11 shooting, 3-of-10 of which was from downtown. She led the team with three steals.

King helped Stony Brook achieve its historic performance by being the third different player to crack double-digit rebounds. She hauled in 11 boards and also scored four points on 2-of-4 shooting.

Another notable contributor was center Delaney Yarborough, who hauled in three rebounds, blocked two shots and hit her only shot in just four minutes played off the bench.

Hill led Hampton with 19 points on 7-of-23 shooting. Though the Pirates were outrebounded 70-35, that was to no fault of center Aisha Dabo, who pulled down eight boards.

The Seawolves will remain in Virginia and wrap up their regular season on Saturday by taking on the William & Mary Tribe. The Tribe are 15-12 this season and 12-5 in CAA play after earning a free win over Northeastern, who forfeited on Thursday due to an injury-riddled roster. The last time they took the court, they lost 77-72 to Charleston this past Sunday.

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