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    Golden Panthers Maul Seawolves in HIE Tourney

    Seawolves May Find Savior With Jordan’s Resurrection

    Golden Panthers Maul Seawolves in HIE Tourney

    By Jeffrey Javidfar

    Statesman Editor

    Florida International arrived at Stony Brook at 5:30 p.m.Friday night, three hours before tip-off, because of weather-related flightdelays. A little over 24 hours later, the Golden Panthers of FIU left StonyBrook with the Holiday Inn Express Tournament trophy in hand after notchingtheir second victory in as many games en route to dethroning the Seawolves, whowere last year’s champs.

    ‘?We had a lot of adversity just getting here,’said Cindy Russo, FIU head coach. ‘?This game and last night’s gamewere big wins for us. I think the victories can be attributed to us steppingup defensively.’

    After coming back from an 11-point deficit in their firstgame of the 2002 HIE Tournament against Fairleigh Dickerson, Stony Brook hadnothing left in the tank for the championship game. FIU used a stymieingdefense to shock the Seawolves with a 33-8 run to open the game, and ended upembarrassing SBU with a 96-44 drubbing. With the loss the Seawolves fell to1-5, their worst start since playing at the Division I level.

    ‘?I was excited that we won [the first game]. Weplayed hard both games,’ said Stephanie Barlett. ‘?The shotsdidn’t go in today. I was a little off.’ Barlett, a sophomoreshooting guard, is running the point for the first time in her career becauseTheresa LoParrino, the Seawolves starting point guard, is injured.

    ‘?Theresa is coming back from an ACL tear and a [recentinjury] in her other leg,’ SBU head coach Trish Roberts said.’?Stephanie is improving [her play at point guard] every game.’

    Barlett had a breakout performance in the first game of theHIE tournament when she helped SBU come from behind to edge Fairleigh Dickerson76-71 by scoring 19 of her 22 points in the second half. However, she wasineffective against FIU.

    Barlett attributed her anemic three points by way ofshooting 1-9 from the field to tired legs.

    This is excuse that could have been used by both teamsbecause they were playing two games less than 24 hours apart. Although Robertsadmitted that her players were tired, she also cited lack of experience.Currently, she is playing one starter from last year’s squad and saidhaving a roster made up of freshmen and sophomores as the culprit for the team’spoor showing.

    ‘?One of the toughest things is teaching freshmen toplay defense,’ she said. ‘?We’re just inexperienced right now.

    Unfortunately, we played against a very, very goodteam.’

    Whatever the reason, by the 53-19 at halftime it was clear thatonly the visitors belonged on the court and that the Seawolves did not come toplay.

    FIU, a regular participant of the NCAA tournament, wassimply too much for the talent depleted and very young SBU women’sbasketball team. The Seawolves were thoroughly beaten in every aspect of thegame, including defensive intensity and hustle, which is a bit uncharacteristicof a Roberts’ coached team.

    SBU allowed FIU to shoot an unheard-of 67.9 percent from thefield, including a mind-boggling 63.6 percent from behind the arc. Theperformances of the two teams were night and day in every major statisticalcategory. The Seawolves could not find the basket as they turned in theirworst offensive performances of the year, shooting 28.1 percent from the fieldand 18.2 percent from downtown. FIU also held a rebounding edge of 44-16, andas a team had a 23-6 advantage in assists.

    Roberts who was clearly was not in the best mood after thegame, tried to be optimistic, viewing the game as a great learning opportunity.Athletic Director Sandra Weeden also tried to remain upbeat. ‘?I thinkwe’re very young, but we’re getting better every game,’ shesaid. ‘?This will be our fourth year in Division I and we haven’thad a losing season yet.’

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