The game started with a brief moment of silence in respect to the tragic passing of Oklahoma State coaches Kirk Budke and Miranda Serna due to a plane crash (you need to read Mechelle Voepel's wonderful article about Budke). Then the Lady Gaels won the opening tip and immediately scored the first basket on a layup by Danika Martinez. But it would be the only one of two baskets Iona would score for sixteen and half minutes. The Lady Gaels would commit six of their eleven first half turnovers in the first six minutes and proceed to shoot 3 of 21 in the first half.
Fortunately for Iona, Stony Brook was also having their own offensive struggles, shooting 6 of 31 in the first half. The result was the unseemly score of 17-7 at halftime. It just happened to be the same score of last night's Oklahoma State - Iowa State football game at the half. It turns out both games would end in a similar fashion.
During halftime, Iona tried to have their dance team perform a routine. But the dance team's performance was delayed due to problems with their music on the sound system. It was once again a reminder that perhaps Iona should have their solid pep band play at the women's games as well.
Even though Iona was still down eleven, the pace favored the Lady Gaels. Their press was starting tire the Seawolves. On the offensive end, Iona showed much more patience. They only had four turnovers and shot over 48 percent from the field in the second half. And the Lady Gaels' best player, one of their senior captains, was going to lead the way.
Here's where an interesting decision was made that I believe may have had an effect on the outcome of the game. O'Boyle called a thirty second timeout, the last timeout Stony Brook had in regulation. She subbed out her leading scorer Klupenger, who had fourteen points, for Jessica Previlon, apparently for defensive purposes.
After assistant Ashlee Kelly wisely noted that the Lady Gaels had two fouls to give, Bozzella called timeout to have his players use those fouls to disrupt the Seawolves' offense. But O' Boyle never inserted Klupenger back in the game. After Iona fouled Stony Brook twice, there was five seconds left. Klupenger was still sitting on the sidelines while the Seawolves had one last play to run to either tie or win the game.
Iona starting guard Tomica Bacic really struggled for the first twenty minutes. She was 0 for 2 from the field and missed two free throws. She sat on the bench for nearly ten minutes before being reinserted late in the first half. In the second half, Bacic contributed, scoring all eight of her points in the last twenty minutes. But she was about to give her biggest contribution of the game.
As the finally fixed sound system played "Back in the New York Groove", it was appropo for the second half. Down fourteen with eleven and a half minutes left, Iona faced serious adversity. But the Lady Gaels found their groove and outscored the Seawolves 34-16 over the last eight and half minutes of the game
Overcoming adversity is another mark of a good team.