By Christian Heimall, Staff Writer
Freshman guard Kate Loper scored a game high 17 points in her collegiate debut but it wasn't enough as the Hofstra Pride women's basketball team fell to visiting Virginia 82-66 in the season opener for both schools. The Cavaliers used a dynamic scoring attack (led by Whitny Edwards' 16 points) and a dominate post presence to earn the victory. UVA out-rebounded the Pride by a final margin of 65-34 including 26 offensive rebounds. The Cavs translated those boards into 44 points in the paint.
"There is some good but let's talk about the worst thing," said head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey. "In 20 years I've never had somebody have 65 rebounds against me. That is enough to make my blood boil right now."
The loss keeps Hofstra winless all-time against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents (now 0-14). Virginia held a slim 32-30 lead at halftime in a hotly contested game. The two squads continued to battle until the 10:22 mark of the second quarter when the Cavaliers led 51-49. They would then go on an 8-1 run, holding Hofstra scoreless for a three minute span to take control.
One positive for the Pride was the ability to run a new, faster paced offensive set than in years past. Assistant coach Bill Ferrara implemented the system and a major concern was if point guard Candice Bellochio could handle the speed and cut down on turnovers. The Pride averaged close to 22 turnovers per game last season, but only committed 16 against Virginia and forced 26.
Sophomore forward Shante Evans was held on the bench most of the night due to foul trouble but was able to pull in seven rebounds and drop in seven points in the loss. Junior guard Nicole Capurso was cold from the start, scoring only three points on a 1-14 shooting night.
"We need to get [Shante] the ball more," said Kilburn-Steveskey. "We will have to work on that in practice. And [Nicole] is never going to have a night like that again, she will get better."
Hofstra is next in action Monday night at the Mack beginning at 7 p.m. when it takes on St. Peter's.