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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Seawolves Hoops Head To Conference Tourney: Women Face Binghamton

It’s time for the  conference tournament. The brackets have been made and the nine teams in the America East are heading to Hartford, Conn.,  all hoping to win the tourney and punch their tickets to the NCAA’s Big Dance. Stony Brook University’s women’s basketball team is seeded fourth, their highest standing since coming in second, in 2006. The Seawolves, will take on the fifth-seeded Binghamton Bearcats Friday night.

The last time the two teams met, the game was less of a contest and more of a Seawolves clinic, with the team clicking on both ends of the ball.

On the defensinve end, the Seawolves forced Binghamton into 22 turnovers and tied a season-high 13 steals. Sophomore guard Tamiel Murray (Teaneck, NJ.) pulled down a career-high 11 boards, helping Stony Brook to a  47-33 rebounding edge. On the offensive end, junior forward Kirsten Jeter (Elmont, NY.) helped the home team stretch a 30-23 halftime lead to a 74-60 victory by dropping a solid 17 points, 13 of them in the last 20 minutes.

The win helped the Seawolves stay in the middle of the pack in conference standings, giving them their fifth conference win.

But almost a month prior, the Seawolves traveled up to Binghamton and found themselves on the wrong end of a 74-58 decision. After holding a double-digit lead early on, the Seawolves let the Bearcats shoot themselves back into the game, allowing the home team to hit 54 percent of their attempts.

Binghamton’s hot shooting, paired with Stony Brook’s cold streak towards the end of the first half, led to a comfortable Bearcat lead. Senior forward Crystal Rushin’s (Valley Stream, N.Y.) career-best 14 points were not enough to pull the road team within striking distance, and the Seawolves picked up the loss.

Now, the teams face off Friday for the tiebreaker and a chance to advance in the conference tournament.

Seeded fourth, the Seawolves are three slots higher than they were predicted to finish once the season started.

Exceeding expectations has given the squad a little more reassurance heading into postseason play.

“No one thought we would be where we are, so that gives us motivation,” said junior guard Misha Horsey (Wyncote, Penn.), “And our last win gave us enough momentum and confidence to do well in the tourney.”

Last time out, the Seawolves routed the UMBC Retrievers at Pritchard Gymnasium, sending their seniors off on a good note with a comfortable 59-48 win.

“I think we’re going into the tourney with more confidence than we’ve had in the past,” said Jeter, “I’m confident that the team is ready for war on Friday.”

The battle should be a good one, since the Bearcats will still have vivid memories of the beat down they got at the hands of Stony Brook last time they met.

But the Seawolves are pumped up also, knowing that they have a legitimate chance of advancing.

“We can beat Binghamton again and I’m excited to play them,” said senior forward Joia Daniels (Silver Springs, Md.), whose collegiate career will end with the next Seawolves’ loss. “It’s a bitter sweet feeling,” she said about partaking in her final conference tournament. “I’m a little sad because it’s my last one, but it makes it that much more important.”

With their cups brimming with confidence, the Seawolves are ready to turn even more heads with a win in the conference tournament.

The ultimate goal is winning the whole shebang and getting an automatic bid to the NCAA tourney, but the first step is defeating Binghamton on Friday night. Tip off is slated for approximately 8:15 p.m.

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