Stony Brook edged Columbia 55-53 in a dizzying Tuesday evening affair on Long Island.
There were 11 lead changes, and neither team led by more than six points throughout. But the Seawolves (1-3) prevailed with five points from guard Kori Bayne-Walker in the final 41 seconds.
Columbia (2-2) clung to a 53-50 lead before the Stony Brook guard connected on a three-pointer to tie it. Bayne-Walker then earned a trip to the free-throw line with 7.1 seconds left and converted both shots to hand the Seawolves their first win of the season.
Junior forward Camille Zimmerman had an opportunity to force overtime, but her leaping attempt in the lane was too strong as time expired, leaving the Lions with a difficult bus ride back to Manhattan.
“Protecting the basket—that’s the one thing we wanted to do,” head coach Megan Griffith, CC ’07, said. “I don’t think they were going to try and win the game with a three, so the one thing we wanted to do was protect the rim, and that’s when Bayne-Walker got to the free-throw line.”
The Light Blue led 16-10 after the first quarter, having shot 50 percent from the field. Zimmerman scored a team-high seven points during that stretch, but both she and senior forward Tori Oliver picked up a pair of personal fouls at the end of the period.
That prompted Griffith to sit the two forwards to start the second quarter, and Stony Brook promptly went on a 9-2 run to take its first lead of the evening, 19-18.
“That’s always tough when you have two players that dominate the ball a lot and [that] we like to run our offense through," Griffith said. “Because then it puts you in compromising situations … [and] people start playing timid.”
The duo returned to the floor midway through the second quarter, and Zimmerman proceeded to convert on a jumper at the free-throw line. Stony Brook forward Elizabeth Manner responded with a layup before Oliver drove to the basket for two shots.
The senior hit both shots and then added a short jumper, but the Seawolves answered almost every time down the other end of the floor. The contest became a back-and-forth affair for the rest of the period, punctuated by a three-pointer from guard Giolibeth Perez at the buzzer, making it 30-26 Stony Brook.
Oliver keyed a strong response after the break, reverting to her typical hard-charging style. The Seawolves were no match, as she scored a team-high six points in the period. Aided by four points from Zimmerman, the Lions built a four-point lead entering the final 10 minutes.
But that narrow advantage was held for just a matter of minutes, as Stony Brook trimmed it to a one-possession affair. The two squads continued to trade baskets until Bayne-Walker took center stage with her late run.
She finished with 15 points on 6-for-13 from the field, with her last drive ending the Lions’ chance at extending their winning streak to three games.
“It’s a wake-up call for us,” Griffith said. “We were riding a two-game high here on the road, and I even said to the team ‘I don’t care what our wins and losses are.’ A win always makes you feel better, but it doesn’t always mask what you did wrong in the game.