Success beckons for the Stony Brook women's basketball team. The Seawolves are taking a cue from other winning programs at the university and believe that their turn to make a championship run might be on the horizon.
Second-year coach Beth O'Boyle has transformed the team from a winner of only four games into a highly competitive group. A 68-53 victory over visiting Vermont Saturday in an America East Conference game was another building block. Stony Brook (11-7, 3-2) is close to meeting O'Boyle's initial expectation.
"My goal was how quickly we can get to the top four," she said of the conference standings. After league-leading Boston University and second- place Albany, Stony Brook is grouped with Vermont (3-2) and Hartford (3-2).
O'Boyle went after transfers and recruits who could have an immediate impact. Freshman forward Brittany Snow, a pre-med major, was sold on her initial visit. "I showed up and just fell in love with it," said Snow, who is from New Jersey. "I knew they had only come from four wins last year and it was kind of like a building phase. I knew [O'Boyle] had a lot of great ideas. Everyone really is excited for what's to come."
Snow was one of four players in double figures against Vermont (6-12), scoring 16 points despite playing most of the game in foul trouble. Stony Brook turned a 32-27 halftime advantage into 19-point lead by scoring the first 14 points of the second half. Vermont closed the gap to 55-51 with 4:07 remaining but the Seawolves quickly got it back to double-digits on layups by Gerda Gatling, Sabre Proctor and Chikilra Goodman. Proctor scored 16 points, Goodman 11 and Jessica Previlon 10.
Proctor, a sophomore forward from Pennsylvania who transferred from North Carolina A&T and practiced with the team last season, said, "Our ultimate goal at the end of the day is to win a championship, and there's no doubt in my mind that we can do that. We have the talent to do it and it will be done."
Previlon, a senior guard from Brooklyn, joined the team last season after two years at Monroe College. She said that seeing other teams at the university win championships "makes us feel like if they can do it, we can do it too. We've just got to push ourselves. The same way they work hard to get to where they are, we can do that."
That is what O'Boyle wants to hear.
"When you are at Stony Brook, all the programs win," she said. "Football does great, baseball unbelievable, men's basketball. I sell their success. It's a big part of my recruiting. Those teams are doing well. We're going to be the next one."