DURHAM — It’s becoming a circular season for the University of New Hampshire women’s basketball team for all the wrong reasons.
In a season already ravaged by injuries, the Wildcats lost their leading scorer, junior Ashley Storey, on Wednesday to a foot injury that will keep her off the court for more than a month.
Without Storey and sophomore Maggie Ahearn, who has also missed most of the season due to injury, the Wildcats went shot for shot with Stony Brook early before fading and losing to the Seawolves 82-63 at Lundholm Gym on Saturday.
“Adversity has hit us very hard with Ashley being out,” UNH coach Maureen Magarity said. “Stony Brook is a really tough team. Matchup-wise it’s really tough.”
Storey averaged 17.1 points a game through the first half of the season and was a force on the inside for the Wildcats. Without her, the Wildcats were dominated inside against the Seawolves.
Stony Brook outrebounded UNH 44-22 including a 15-8 advantage on the offensive glass. Magarity has been trying to mix and match the lineups but has little depth in the post. First-year players Mary Foster, Mariah Gonzalez and Kali Grimm have all been forced to play out of position.
“With Ashley being out we’re just another post short,” Magarity said. “I’ve had Mariah at the four, Kali at the four. All season Alli (Gribbin) has been playing out of position. Overall I just think we’re trying to stay upbeat and positive. It’s tough right now.”
Hudson native Amanda Torres led the team with six rebounds but went on to say that the guards will have to step up on the glass if the Wildcats are to make a dent in the rebounding department.
“I think it’s a lot with our rebounding we need to push them back,” Torres said. “Personally, as a guard, I think sometimes I think I don’t have to rebound, and I think a lot of our mindset is like that. Now that we don’t have Ashley and Maggie we have to go in there and make a difference.”
Grimm was a bright spot against the Seawolves. In 28 minutes off the bench, Grimm scored 13 points, including four made threes.
“I really just try to have the mindset that i’m going to come in with a spark,” Grimm said. “If they’re struggling I’m going to bring energy and try to hit some shots.”
Even without Storey on Wednesday, the Wildcats found a way to beat UMass Lowell, but the double-digit defeat against Stony Brook was another reminder that a year that was already going to be an uphill climb has gotten even steeper.
“I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t been tough,” Magarity said. “Going into this year we knew it would be a bit of a challenge knowing, statistically, what we graduated in the seven seniors. The adversity’s been really tough. At the same time, I try to come to work upbeat and positive because these players show up every day with that same positivity. It is hard, but I can’t fault their effort every day. I know this is going to pay off in the long run.”