Thursday, January 3, 2013

One Last Game in 2012 (Recap of Iona vs. Stony Brook Women's Basketball Game)

Sunday was going to be the last day that I would see a basketball game in calendar year 2012.  It was also likely the last game I would see in the New York metropolitan area until at least February, perhaps longer.  I was heading back to South Carolina New Year's Day morning.

So if I was going to be at any basketball game on Sunday, it only made sense that I was at the Iona-Stony Brook women's basketball game.  Two of my favorite three local New York schools (Hofstra obviously being the third of the trifecta) and more importantly seeing my dear friend Tony Bozzella, head coach of the Iona women's team, as well as seeing his wonderful family - wife Maria, daughter Samantha and son, Joseph.

It was a good crowd for a Sunday women's game with 320 in attendance.  Stony Brook entered the game at 7-4, with three more wins than they had all of last season.  Iona entered the game at 5-5 and looked to end their non conference slate by going over .500.  

The first half was a defensive struggle.  Iona jumped out to a 13-7 lead after an Aleesha Powell basket, her only field goal of the game.  Stony Brook would respond with a 6-0 spurt with Sabre Proctor scoring the last two points on a layup to tie the game at thirteen.  We would hear Proctor's name often on Sunday.

The Gaels responded with a 14-4 run over the next several minutes.  Damika Martinez and Aaliyah Robinson would hit back to back three pointers.  Then Shonice Hawkins hit an old fashioned three point play to put Iona up 27-17.   But the Seawolves would score six of the last eight points of the half to cut the lead to six, 29-23 entering the half.

The start of the second half saw Stony Brook start out on an 8-0 run.  Jessica Previlon scored two baskets inside, which would be a common theme for her in the last twenty minutes of the game.   The Seawolves had their first lead of the game since a little less than sixteen minutes left in the first half. 

The Gaels would come back to tie the game twice in the next couple of minutes.  However, Stony Brook would slowly inch out to a six point as Proctor, Previlon and Teasha Harris (sister of  former Tennessee men's player Tobias Harris now with the Milwaukee Bucks) led the way for the Seawolves, who were up 47-41 with about eight and a half minutes left.

During this time, the Stony Brook dance team went into the crowd asking kids if they wanted to be a part of the Cotton Eyed Joe dance at the under eight minute media timeout with the Seawolves' mascot Wolfie.  Matthew didn't want to go, but reluctantly went when Jonathan wanted to go.  

When the kids went out on the dance floor at the U8 media timeout, Matthew and Jonathan were at the far end of the court opposite me. Matthew danced away but Jonathan started crying.  The dance team member who recruited him picked him up and brought a teary Jonathan to me.  He told me he was "scared".  

Iona responded with an 8-0 spurt over the next two minutes.  Cassidee Ranger hit a three pointer, then two free throws and Robinson hit another three pointer to put the Gaels up 49-47 with six and a half minutes left.  Robinson's basket brought the contingent of fans behind the Iona bench up to their feet.

But the Seawolves responded by scoring seven straight points.  A Harris jumper tied the game at 49.  Then Previlon scored on a three point play and then later added two more free throws as the Gaels had no answer for her in the second half.  Stony Brook was up 54-49 with a little more than five minutes left.

Iona would get within two points twice over the next two minutes.  A Ranger three pointer made the score 59-57 Stony Brook with three minutes left.  The Gaels were down 65-62 with forty nine seconds left and had a chance to cut the lead to one.  But Robinson's layup attempt wouldn't fall down.  Stony Brook would end up winning the game 70-64.

It was Stony Brook's eighth win of the season, which was double the number of wins from a season ago.  Previlon, Harris and Proctor scored forty one of the Seawolves' forty seven second half points.  Harris scored eleven of her fifteen points on free throws.  Previlon had a double double with seventeen points and eleven rebounds while Proctor had a game high twenty five points and added eight rebounds. Stony Brook shot 27 of 34 from the free throw line.

Martinez led the Gaels with eighteen points, twelve of which were scored in the second half.  Adams added another double-double for the season with twelve points and ten rebounds.  Ranger and Robinson came off the bench and each scored eleven points.  Iona was 9 of 19 from beyond the arc and 15 of 18 from the line.

After the game, I waited around a few minutes but then had to leave.  I said goodbye to Maria, Joey and Sammy and wished them a Happy New year.   It was good to hang out with them.  Another fine day of college basketball and great friends.  A good way to end 2012.

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