Women's Basketball Squares Off Against Hartford In America East Championship
March 9, 2002
West Hartford, Conn. - BACKDROP: Stony Brook's second consecutive upset lands the Seawolves into the America East Tournament title game in their first season of competition. Stony Brook recorded its second straight convincing victory with a 65-54 win over New Hampshire yesterday to advance to the championship game. Stony Brook never trailed against Boston University in the first round and was behind just twice against New Hampshire, each time by just a single point.
ON THE TUBE: With yesterday's win over New Hampshire, Stony Brook is 2-0 this year in games on TV. The Seawolves defeated Maine 60-52 on Jan. 6 in a game televised on Long Island's Metro Channel.
CHAMPIONSHIP APPEARANCES: Stony Brook is 1-1 in championship games, both of which were played at the Division III level. The Seawolves advanced to the championship game of the New York State Women's Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament in 1987, where they fell to St. John Fisher, 66-60. Stony Brook played in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament final in 1986, defeating Rutgers-Newark, 69-61, for the title.
ON THE SERIES: Stony Brook and Hartford split during the regular season with each team winning at home. The Seawolves defeated the Hawks 75-66 on Jan. 26, as three players scored in double-figures led by Sherry Jordan's 25 and Danielle DeGiorgio's 21. Hartford turned the tables on SBU on Feb. 15, recording a 56-46 victory.
KEYS TO THE GAME: Stony Brook has upped its scoring output the past two games and will have to continue that trend to defeat the Hawks. After averaging just 46 points in its last two regular-season games, SBU has scored 60 points or more on back-to-back nights for the first time in eight outings. Stony Brook's hot hand from the outside has also taken the pressure off the post, which will be important against the Hawks who are led by forward Janeka Lopp's 13.1 points per game and center Kenitra Johnson's 12.5.
ON THE OFFENSIVE: The Seawolves have shot 40 percent from the field in the two games combined (51-of-128), which they will have to continue in order to beat the Hawks. In their win over Hartford earlier this season, the Seawolves hit 43 percent of their shots, including a 5-of-11 effort from three-point range. However, in the Hawks' victory three weeks ago, Hartford held Stony Brook to just 27 percent shooting (15-of-56), a season-low. Stony Brook totaled a season-low of 46 points, as Sherry Jordan was the only Seawolf to tally double-figures with 12.
INSIDE SCOOP: Another key to today's game could be the play in the post. Stony Brook was able to beat New Hampshire despite giving up a combined 32 points between UNH center Maren Matthias and forward Aubrey Danen. Hartford forward Janeka Lopp and center Kenitra Johnson did the damage against the Seawolves earlier this season. Johnson led all scorers with 13 points in the Hawks' win on Feb. 15, while Lopp tallied 18 in the Seawolves' victory in January. Johnson recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 boards in that contest. The two combined for 30 points and 11 rebounds in the Hawks' semifinal victory over Vermont in the semifinals. Stony Brook will have to limit their production in order to win today's game.
INJURY UPDATE: Senior forward Jennifer Metz suffered a torn ACL in yesterday's game against New Hampshire and won't play in today's game. Metz had started seven of the last eight games, averaging 3.1 points and 2.3 rebounds. Metz's injury marks the second time in just two weeks that a player has suffered a torn ACL, sophomore guard Theresa LoParrino was lost for the season against BU on Feb. 21 with the same injury.
MARCH MADNESS: With Stony Brook and Hartford squaring off in today's final, the lowest seed out of each bracket has advanced to play for an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Today's matchup is the perfect conclusion after a regular-season that came down to the last day of games to determine the seeds for the conference tournament.
AIR JORDAN: Sophomore Sherry Jordan needs just 20 points today to total 1,000 in her Stony Brook career, which would be just the second time in school history a sophomore has joined the 1,000-point club. The forward has put together outstanding back-to-back games in the America East Tournament, recording consecutive double-doubles. Jordan scored 21 points to along with 12 rebounds against UNH in the semifinals to lead all scorers and record her ninth double-double of the year. Against BU in the first round, she collected 25 points, 12 rebounds and six steals. Jordan has tallied 500 points this season alone, the eighth-best single-season effort in Stony Brook history.
E FACTOR: Senior Erika Shipley was the difference in yesterday's win over New Hampshire. The guard's 20 points against the Wildcats fell just short of a career-high. Shipley was 3-of-6 from behind the arc and also recorded four assists and stole the ball a career-high five times. The Seawolves are 8-3 this season when Shipley scores 10 or more points.
ON THE RUN: For the second straight game, Stony Brook used two key runs to record a victory in the America East Tournament. Down 17-16 to New Hampshire at 11:01 in the first half, Stony Brook went on a 16-4 run over the next eight minutes to earn its biggest edge of the half at 32-21 with 3:21 before the break. The Seawolves would never trail again. The Wildcats pulled to within 47-40 at the 11:01 mark of the second half, but that would be as close as UNH would get. Stony Brook outscored the Wildcats 18-9 to take its biggest lead of the game at 16, 65-49, with just over a minute remaining.
OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT: The Seawolves opened their semifinal game on fire, hitting 15-of-31 shots, including 5-of-9 from three-point range. Meanwhile, the Wildcats strugged from behind the arc, missing all 11 of their attempts. Erika Shipley's 12 first-half points led the way, while Sherry Jordan scored 10.
STEALING AWAY: The Seawolves continued their tenacious defense against UNH, pestering the Wildcats into 16 turnovers and collecting 12 steals on the day. Stony Brook is 11-2 this year when recording 10 or more steals. Meanwhile, SBU turned the ball over a season-low nine times.
TURN THE BEAT AROUND: The Seawolves have bounced back this week after winning just three of their final 10 regular-season games. Stony Brook's victories in the tournament mark the first time SBU has put together back-to-back wins since January, when the Seawolves defeated Hartford and Princeton at home.
BY GEORGE: Senior Jill George needs just six rebounds today to move to fourth all-time in Stony Brook history. George's eight rebounds against New Hampshire gives her 710 in her career.