Seawolves sweep Empire Rival as they enter playoff mode

Anastasia Warren UAlbany 022321
Courtesy of Stony Brook Athletics

Even with the seedings confirmed for the America East Tournament, the Seawolves still had every intention to close the regular season with a bang, and they worked to do so against their biggest rival ever.

The final two games in the America East took place at IFCU Arena on Monday and Tuesday as the Stony Brook Seawolves hosted their Empire Rival UAlbany Great Danes. This was the first meeting between both schools since the 2020 America East Quarterfinals when the Seawolves came back from down 20-5 midway through the second quarter and eliminated UAlbany in overtime 54-49 to advance to the semifinals.

With Alexi Schecter graduated, the Great Danes relied on standouts from last season that gave them some good wins, such as sophomore Helene Haegerstrand and senior Kyara Frames. They were coming off a 15-day COVID-19 pause with their last contests held at Binghamton, whom they split the series with back on the weekend of February 6th.

The Seawolves entered this matchup coming off a potential championship preview against the Maine Black Bears, who clinched the America East regular-season title and the top seed in the tournament for the 3rd time in 4 seasons. The Seawolves and Black Bears exchanged 5-point wins against each other at IFCU Arena, showing off a possibility of the Seawolves being one of the few teams to dethrone the Black Bears, led by potential conference Player of the Year and 5th-year player Blanca Millan.

To start Monday’s game, the Great Danes, who have already clinched the 4-seed in the conference tournament, got off to a 5-0 start with Haegerstrand accounting for the first 5 points of the game. Eventually, the Seawolves used a second-half push to take a 10-point lead at halftime. However, faced with the same full-court pressure they faced off against Maine last weekend, the Seawolves surrendered an early double-digit lead as the Great Danes took as much as a 1-point lead early in the 4th quarter. However, the Seawolves hit late 3’s in the 4th quarter, courtesy of the likes of Asiah Dingle, Earlette Scott, and Annie Warren, who had 17 of her 21 points in the 2nd half. Using that push, the Seawolves eventually defeated the Great Danes in Game 1 with a 58-46 victory.

The day afterwards, the Seawolves were the one with the first points of the game to start Game 2 with back-to-back three-point plays courtesy of Earlette Scott’s 3PT and Annie Warren’s three free throws. Trailing 25-18 at halftime, the Great Danes used a 7-2 run to come to within 2 using their full-court pressure on Stony Brook again. However, the Seawolves would once again overcome the Great Danes’ defense and use a 4th quarter push, outscoring UAlbany 23-11, using back-to-back fast-break layups and drawing fouls while making shots to achieve 3-point plays. In the end, Asiah Dingle finished with a game-high 13 points and helped the Seawolves end the regular season by sweeping UAlbany for the second year in a row with a 62-42 victory.

With the regular season concluded, the America East Women’s Basketball Tournament begins on Sunday, February 28th with #3-seed UMass-Lowell hosting #6-seed NJIT at 1pm, followed by #4-seed UAlbany hosting #5-seed New Hampshire at SEFCU Arena at 5pm. The top-seed Maine Black Bears and #2-seed Stony Brook Seawolves will play next on Sunday, March 7 against their respective opponents. The Black Bears will host either NJIT or the loser of UAlbany-New Hampshire at 1pm, followed by the Seawolves hosting either UMass-Lowell or the winner of UAlbany-New Hampshire at 3pm. The America East Women’s Basketball Championship will feature the semifinal winners on Friday, March 12 at 5pm on ESPNU.

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