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Stony Brook heads to conference championship on a roll

By LOIS ELFMAN | 3/6/2014, 5:54 p.m.
Jessica Ogunnorin is Ms. Clutch when her team needs a big hoop. Photos courtesy of Stony Brook University

A win over the University of Albany on Albany’s home court put the perfect finish on SUNY Stony Brook’s regular season and poised the Seawolves as co-favorites heading into the America East Conference tournament starting on Friday. Having lost this season’s prior matchup with Albany at Stony Brook, Saturday’s win showed that the Seawolves can do battle on the road, which is essential, because the conference tournament is being held in Albany.

“It’s been an exciting season so far,” said Stony Brook head coach Beth O’Boyle. In just her third season, O’Boyle has succeeded in what she was hired to do—create a winning Seawolves program. “Year three, we’ve been able to recruit high-level student-athletes to Stony Brook, and that’s really made a big difference.”

O’Boyle considers Stony Brook her “dream job” because the academic standards at the school are so high. She connects with players who are highly driven on and off the court. In addition to playing basketball, the team is very engaged with community service.

Meanwhile, a tough non-conference schedule helped prepare the players for conference play. Two standouts on the team are junior forward Sabre Proctor and junior guard Jessica Ogunnorin, both coming to Stony Brook as transfer students.

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Sabre Proctor has been a consistent player for Stony Brook all season long.

“Sabre is such a versatile player,” said O’Boyle. Currently, Proctor is averaging 14.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game and is tough both on offense and defense. “She is really strong inside. She can score with her back to the basket. Then she is a terrific outside shooter. She has such a touch with her shots. She’s a really tough cover. She gets double- or triple-teamed on most nights and she’s really unselfish with the ball; she makes great passes.

“Jessica was really intrigued by our player development,” O’Boyle continued. Ogunnorin is averaging 8.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. “She wants to play overseas professionally, and she felt being a part of our program would really help develop her game.”

Heading to the conference tournament, the Seawolves are on a seven-game winning streak. O’Boyle said confidence is key, and having succeeded in tough games gives them just that.