Special to the AmNews
Stony Brook University women’s basketball starts play in its first Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) tournament tonight, and the Seawolves are determined to make their mark. New to the conference, the team notched an 11–7 record in conference play, but lost the last three games. The tournament brings a fresh start and the opportunity to keep the team on the national scene.
“It’s been a journey with our team,” said second-year head coach Ashley Langford. “We lost a lot of experienced veteran players from last year. My staff and I were able to bring in some transfers to help us be able to compete in this new league, which is obviously a higher level of competition. Our goal is to every day get better. I think we’ve done that. We had players [who] needed to gel and that takes time.”
This year’s Stony Brook team consisted of seven new players and six returners. Langford said it takes time to build chemistry, and the team became more and more cohesive as the season progressed, leading to a good debut in the CAA. Her goal is to win the conference, but she’s also proud of the team’s progression and the ability of players to adapt to new roles.
Langford, who earned her undergraduate degree at Tulane University, appreciates the high academic standards of Stony Brook. “I want players [who] value academics; I love that type of environment,” she said. “To me, it’s not just about basketball. Obviously, I’m here to win, but I like young women [who] want to go out and do things in this world and make a difference.”
The Seawolves’ top two scorers are graduate student guard Anastasia Warren and sophomore forward Sherese Pittman. Warren, a health science major, is the lone holdover from the 2020–21 team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. “She brings that experience and leadership,” Langford said. “This year, she’s had to grow into the mentality—‘This is my team and Coach needs me to take these shots.’”
Pittman is new to the Seawolves this season, but Langford has been acquainted with her for several years and recruited her to play at James Madison, where Langford was an assistant coach before coming to Stony Brook. “She’s stable, consistent, tough,” said Langford. “She even played out of position this year and she’s been able to flourish because she wants to play and help us win. She’s really versatile…Another player [who] competes every day.”