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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Points in the Paint: Warney’s defense and women’s team’s rebounding

By David Vertsberger and Andrew Eichenholz

Jameel Warney (above, No. 20) lays up a shot.  Warney averages 15.5 points on 53 percent shooting per night.  ANDREW EICHENHOLZ / THE STATESMAN

Point #1: Jameel Warney is being tested defensively

Opposing teams know the first player they need to scheme against when Stony Brook appears on their schedule is the 2013-14 America East Player of the Year Jameel Warney. With averages of 15.5 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.3 and 2.5 blocks a night on 53 percent shooting, he without a doubt commands the attention of competitors on a nightly basis.

However, teams have begun learning how to hinder Warney’s presence on the Seawolves by attacking him, not trying to stop him. Warney is a very smart defender who uses verticality properly and knows Head Coach Steve Pikiell’s system to the minute detail, but he does have his weaknesses on that end. Quicker big men that can shoot from outside have been his kryptonite this season.

Warney has lagged behind on rotations when opposing bigs possessed extended range, as was the case against New Hampshire’s Tanner Leissner, who scored 19 points with three threes against the Seawolves. There are ways around this, such as if Pikiell had the Seawolves switch on pick-and-pops, but come the postseason, Stony Brook will need an answer.

Point #2: Time is running out for the SBU women’s basketball team

For a team that won 24 games last season, 20 more than just two seasons before that, a 4-4 start in America East play is quite underwhelming. Senior Sabre Proctor and much of the team’s core from last year is still on the team.

One could argue that there is still time to turn things around, but that grace period is disappearing, and doing so quickly. Head Coach Caroline McCombs and company have now seen each and every team in the conference at least once, so there is no longer room for error.

The team has important contests not only for better placement seeding wise in the America East Tournament, but for the Seawolves’ own confidence heading into the biggest showdown of the season, bar none. There is no more time to wait, the best of the team needs to rear its head, and fast.

Point #3: Can Deshaun Thrower be the spark SBU needs?

Last season, Stony Brook had the luxury of being able to bring Anthony Jackson or Carson Puriefoy off the bench to provide an offensive spark. This year, SBU lacks that luxury.

Although players like Tyrell Sturdivant, Kameron Mitchell and Bryan Sekunda have been solid, none of them are major scoring threats.

However, one reserve that shown signs of becoming Stony Brook’s new instant offense guy: freshman Deshaun Thrower. Thrower is shooting under 30 percent from both the field and downtown, but in his past six games has connected on 45.8 percent of his field goals and has made a three in each of those contests.

He seems to be stepping up with Puriefoy struggling, even starting against UMass-Lowell a little over a week ago. Recently, Pikiell has actually played him alongside Puriefoy in some lineups. Thrower’s handling ability is superb and his strength at the one position makes him a wrecking ball when he attacks the basket aggressively. His jumper is flat, but deadly at times.

He has all the tools to be a very good point guard in a year or two, but as unfair as it sounds, Stony Brook might need that development to happen sooner rather then later.

Point #4: Rebounding is a strength for women’s team, and it has to be.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the identity of the Stony Brook Seawolves is playing tough down low. A lot of the team’s scoring comes from its forwards, and opportunities are created when its guards drive the lane to open up shots on the wing.

But, perhaps the most important aspect of that is the team’s rebounding. The Seawolves are a close second in the America East team rebounding race, routing opponents in that department a large majority of the time.

In their loss at home against Hartford on Thursday night, the Seawolves only won the battle by a single board, which ended up not being enough. This team needs to show that it is that much more physical and willing to play harder than their opponents to win.

It is safe to say going down the stretch that if they should start losing the rebounding battle, it will be difficult to string together wins and make a tournament run.

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