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Stony Brook women's basketball gets early jump on UMass Lowell, cruises to America East final

Stony Brook guard Asiah Dingle puts up a

Stony Brook guard Asiah Dingle puts up a layup against UMass Lowell during the second half of an America East semifinal women's basketball game at Federal Credit Arena on Sunday, March 7, 2021. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The Stony Brook women’s basketball team has reached the America East Conference Tournament final for the second straight season. This time it hopes to be able to take the floor.

The Seawolves reached the conference final last season, but their March 13 game against Maine was canceled during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York.

Twelve months later, second-seeded Stony Brook defeated third-seeded UMass Lowell, 75-55, in a conference semifinal at Island Federal Credit Union Arena to get back to the same point.

The Seawolves will play at top-seeded Maine on Friday, with a trip to the NCAA Tournament at stake.

"It’s been a long journey when you kind of go back and think about the opportunity we had last year to play Maine at home and now we get another opportunity," coach Caroline McCombs said.

"We did all the little things and all the work to have an opportunity to play in this championship game and I’m just really proud of our players. I know how much it means to them."

Stony Brook has never played in an NCAA Tournament game, and a victory Friday would give the Seawolves an automatic bid.

"We want this so much for each other," junior guard Anastasia Warren said. "We are just working really hard because we know how much this means to each other."

Asiah Dingle led Stony Brook with 14 points, seven assists, six steals and five rebounds. Warren added 11 points and five rebounds, Earlette Scott had 10 points and five assists and India Pagan scored 10 points as seven Seawolves scored at least seven points.

That balanced scoring has been a key to the Seawolves’ 14-5 record.

"They can’t guard us," Warren said. "They don’t know who to guard, so we are going to make plays. Somebody is going to end up open and they are going to knock the shot down."

Stony Brook scored 11 of the game’s first 13 points and carried that into a 36-22 lead after the second quarter.

"This is a really competitive group," McCombs said. "They make it challenging for me every day to make rotations."

Stony Brook split its two games against Maine (17-2), both five-point margins.

"We played two great games with Maine here in the regular season, so you know we’re excited about the matchup again," McCombs said.

"It’s a championship game, and we know everybody’s going to be playing their best basketball."

The Seawolves had a COVID pause starting Dec. 31 that caused two postponements, but they’ve won nine of their last 11 since the pause. And on Friday, the Seawolves will try to complete the journey.

"So much was poured into every practice going into this game here today," McCombs said. "We’re going to have to do the same thing to prepare for Maine for these next couple of days."

New York Sports