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Stony Brook women edge Maine to pull into first-place tie in America East

Stony Brook head coach Caroline McCombs directs her

Stony Brook head coach Caroline McCombs directs her offense during the second half at Stony Brook University's Island Federal Credit Union Arena on Dec. 1, 2018. Credit: Daniel De Mato

The Stony Brook and Maine women's basketball teams had been on a collision course in the America East championship game last March when COVID-19 halted play.

They finally were able to meet on Saturday. The matchup did not disappoint.

After honoring India Pagan in a pregame ceremony for reaching the 1,000-point plateau, the Seawolves served notice of their intent to reach their first NCAA Tournament with a 59-54 win against the Black Bears at Island Federal Arena.

Stony Brook (11-4, 9-2 AE) and Maine (14-2, 11-2) are now tied in the loss column atop the conference standings.

Playing its first game in 13 days, Stony Brook grabbed a 52-47 lead on a three-pointer from Gigi Gonzalez with 3:25 remaining (following her go-ahead jumper with 4:38 left).

Maine then closed to within a point, but Hailey Zeise answered with a pair of free throws with 1:14 to go. And after a missed driving layup by Maine, Earlette Scott grabbed the rebound and was fouled. She sank two free throws with 42.1 seconds remaining to reopen a five-point advantage.

Asiah Dingle led the Seawolves with 16 points, including a pair of free throws with 14.1 seconds to go to restore a two-possession game.

Stony Brook snapped Maine's nine-game winning streak.

The teams wore pink and gray uniforms as part of the Play4Kay events across college basketball for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

"We wanted to continue to be strong and resilient women for everyone who has battled and is battling a fight against breast cancer," coach Caroline McCombs said. "Continuing to bring awareness and supporting a cause so much bigger than basketball is in the hearts of our players."

The two teams meet again on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Island Federal Arena.

"Maine is a very good team, and we both understand the importance of this game," McCombs said. "We took care of business today, and it’s a quick turnaround for tomorrow."

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