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The Statesman


Hoopla: Women’s defense looks to dominate as they were picked to finish third

Proctor and the Seawolves look to improve on last season. Photo by Jia Yao
Proctor and the Seawolves look to improve on last season. Photo by Jia Yao

            As the old saying goes, defense wins championships. Nobody believes in that philosophy more strongly than third-year coach Beth O’Boyle. In her first two years at the helm of the Stony Brook Women’s Basketball team, her team has finished in the top 50 in the nation in scoring defense. Last year, the Seawolves finished 44th in the nation in the category, letting opposing offenses score an average of 55.3 points per game. And when the Seawolves held teams to under 50 points, they went 9-2.

            “We take a lot of pride in our defense,” coach O’Boyle said on Media Day. “That’s something that we work on every day.”

            Looking at some teams, they have one lockdown defender and try to devise their defense around that one player to make the team successful. That could not be farther from the truth with coach O’Boyle’s system.

            “Our defensive system is very team-oriented,” she said. “Anybody who can help us out in a lockdown role and has experience doing it definitely helps though.”

            When she took the role three years ago, defense was not as prominent in the nation as it has become with her. The system she teaches was made from scratch and it takes a little bit to get it down to perfection, but once this team does, it is a deadly formula.

            “For us it’s a system that we teach step by step,” O’Boyle said. “Hopefully by the end of the year, we can really rely on it to get us wins.”

            The Seawolves last year, along with a 44th-ranked scoring defense, made the nation’s seventh best turnaround with a 10-win difference from the year before. A big thing that contributed to this was not only the defense, but the recruiting class and mindset that was brought in by coach O’Boyle and her staff.

            “We brought in 6 new players,” she said. “Our expectations changed. I’m also lucky to have a great staff who are very thorough in their preparation from scouting reports and so on.”

            This year, the defense will again be a hallmark, but the expectations are a little higher as the team looks to utilize its good combination of senior leadership and good young talent as well.

            “The first thing we’re going to have to figure out is how we are as a team” O’Boyle said. “As with all teams here at Stony Brook we want to compete for championship.”

            Last year, O’Boyle brought in six new players to her team. This year that number grew to seven, and it is not always a bad thing.

            “When you’re building, you’re going to have some bigger classes,” O’Boyle said. “We want to see how they will mesh together, that senior leadership and that young, raw talent.”

            This team is going to continue to build and it is all going to be around their defense and the leadership of the seniors and the stars. Sabre Proctor and Brittany Snow will lead on the offensive end, as Proctor is the leading returning scorer and a preseason All-America East pick.

            On the defensive end, it will be seniors Chikilra Goodman and Teasha Harris as the lockdown defenders. They were first and second on the team in steals, and Goodman recorded 101 thefts, which is good for tenth in Stony Brook history for a single season. The team will also not only look to build on its scoring defense, but the rebounding statistic, which was second in the conference in both total rebounds and rebounding margin.

            The Seawolves will showcase that stellar defense first on their home court when they take on NJIT on Friday, Nov. 8 at 6 p.m.

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