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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Women’s basketball stays hot during cold winter break

The only parts of winter break that coach Beth O’Boyle’s women’s basketball team took off were the losses. After a season in which the Seawolves were much improved, they still had a 10-loss record in the America East conference. Looking at the standings, it is not hard to see a huge difference.

Since school recessed in late December, Stony Brook has done anything but fall back, winning 7 of 9 games including a couple of non-conference beat downs heading into their America East schedule. Two defeats coming at the hands of a very talented Seton Hall team and a conference foe New Hampshire are nothing to look down at, as the team is arguably having its best season in years.

When the season first began, the spotlight was on junior Sabre Proctor and sophomore sensation Brittany Snow. If the Seawolves were to come full circle in their rebuild, the burden would be on the shoulders of two young forwards to really push the team forward. Little did Stony Brook fans know that two of the elder statesmen on the team, junior transfer Jessica Ogunnorin and senior Chikilra Goodman would emerge to make Stony Brook a force to be reckoned with.

With many options to pick from, one player did not single-handedly will the team to their strong performance to start conference play, but the grittiness of the group as a whole proved to be their identity.

A defining trend that has continued to propel O’Boyle and crew to many victories has been that toughness, and the ability to fight for every possession. The one stat in which that really shines through is their performance on the glass. In every game, Stony Brook was on the winning side of the rebound battle, with their only loss in that category coming in a win. What does not show on the stat sheet is the frustration that rebounds, especially on the offensive glass causes for opponents. Frustrating the other team is certainly not the worst thing the Seawolves could do as the bulk of the conference schedule rolls around.

In the games that have come and gone from the end of 2013 until now, everybody on the roster has done their part in adding to the overall toughness on the court. Three different players led the Seawolves in rebounds for a given game, as Goodman, Ogunnorin and Snow all had at least one game with double digit rebounding. Having more players able to exploit the other team is important as the season continues, making it harder for a group to solely focus on shutting down one player.

The same thing has been evident with putting the ball in the hoop for Stony Brook, as three players have all topped the scoring rankings during break.

As most Seawolves packed their bags as finals wrapped up, the Seawolves Holiday Classic got started on campus at Pritchard Gymnasium. Two emphatic performances later, the Seawolves had some much needed confidence as the America East season drew nearer.

In the first game of the mini-tournament held at home, the Seawolves took down Monmouth 69-52. The wealth was surely spread, with Proctor leading three teammates who had double figures with 19 points. A quick start was all they needed, holding onto a 14 point halftime lead for the win.

Much like the first game, Stony Brook had no problem dispatching Wagner. Despite not having as quick of a start, the Seawolves finished strong in the second half to take out the Seahawks 70-51. Proctor and Ogunnorin both had massive days, both tallying double-doubles.

After a small blip against top-level school Seton Hall, in which the Seawolves did manage to hang tough, Stony Brook closed out their non-conference schedule with a tight victory against Columbia, gaining momentum for the most important part of the season. The America East schedule that in reality is the vital part of the year for the Seawolves started strongly for O’Boyle’s team. Right away, the grind of the conference gritted it’s teeth right at Stony Brook, as the team was challenged immediately. Hartford jumped out to a huge lead towards the end of the first half. For a period of time, the deficit was steadily in the double-digits, but nobody packed their bag and walked off the court. An intense fight back later, and an inspired comeback led by 20 points from Proctor handed Stony Brook a 61-57 win.

In their only loss within the conference to date, Proctor and crew showed that this team’s “never say die” attitude is an identity rather than a fluke. Once again facing a huge deficit, this time reaching a high of 17 points, a career night for the star junior Proctor dragged the team back into a battle. Forcing overtime by tying the game within the last minute, the fight would end with a tough overtime loss. When teams go through such emotionally taxing games, one would think that it would affect the rest of the season. With this Seawolves team, nothing is further from the truth.

After their first America East loss, no more have followed. Three strong wins have put Stony Brook on a roll heading into the backend of the season.

In a low-scoring affair against SUNY rival Binghamton, guard Miranda Jenkins took matters into her own hands. Back and forth the whole game, both teams battled for the lead as momentum constantly shifted, leading to a dramatic finish. With just 34 seconds left, Jenkins hit a clutch jumper to grab the lead for the Seawolves. As time winded down, Goodman knocked down two pressure-ridden free throws to seal the victory for Stony Brook.

Guard Teasha Harris could not let everybody else have all the fun in the Seawolves next game against University of Massachusetts Lowell, as the guard exploded in a big win. Contributing 17 points with four rebounds and three assists, the senior helped to excite the Pritchard Gymnasium crowd in a 86-63 win. Kim Hanlon also found her stroke, hitting three three pointers in a solid nine point performance.

Just in time for students to move back into their dorms, Stony Brook recorded their most emphatic win by far in a dominating victory, 83-49 over Vermont. Considering it was 47-38, and then 49-40 early in the second half, the fact that the Seawolves closed out so strongly shows that they have a second gear to challenge any team. Four players reached double digits on the scoring line for Stony Brook, but even more impressive were the rebounding numbers. Nearly double the amount of rebounds, and almost three times the amount of offensive boards allowed the Seawolves to control the basketball in the second half, and create the blowout. 61percent shooting from the field in the huge second half didn’t hurt the cause.

After starting their conference schedule so strongly, O’Boyle said, “Our non-conference schedule was very challenging, and it was great to see our players perform well on the road and at home. As we head into the heart of our America East schedule, I hope those experiences will help us continue to do well.”

At this point, a team that was at the bottom of the conference just a couple of years ago is doing more than just fine.


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