By Max Sass, Assistant Sports Editor
Bouncing back from a tough loss defines a good team and the Pride proved just that by beating Providence Tuesday night 72 – 68. The Pride had a nine-day lay off before matching up with the Friars, who were 7 – 1 entering the game.
"We were ready for a game," said sophomore guard Candice Bellocchio, explaining the team's restlessness duringtheir break. "We could have been playing any kind of team tonight, they were getting it."
Coach Krista Kilburn – Steveskey continued her trend of varying the starting lineup, starting sophomore guard Asia Jenkins and leaving sophomore forwards Joelle Connelly and Marie Malone on the bench.
Another player who started on the bench and the one who ended up playing the biggest role for the Pride was sophomore guard/forward Nicole Capurso. Capurso proved herself a deadly three point marksmen, hitting on five long distance buckets on her way to tying a career high with 23 points. "I think every single shot I take is going in," said Capurso. "When I shoot 1 for 11, I think those are 10 are going in."
Two buckets by senior center Jess Fuller and another by freshman forward Shante Evans, sporting a Richard Hamilton style facemask after getting hit in the face against Connecticut, helped the Pride jump out to an immediate 6 – 0 lead.
The Pride held just a slim three-point lead at halftime and the game remained close for most of the second half. Bellocchio broke a 48 all tie with 10:24 to play, when she drove to the cup, was fouled and converted on an improbable layup. Bellochio added the free throw to give Hofstra a three-point lead and what seemed to be a ton of momentum, but the Friars got right back in the game.
The second of Capurso's three pointers, at 7:40 extended the Pride's lead to seven, but Providence was able to bring it to within three with less than four minutes to play. Malone changed that though, as she scored four straight points to extend the Pride's lead to 68 – 61.
Providence was not to be counted out though, as a three pointer followed by a Bellocchio offensive foul gave the visitors the ball with just one minute to go and only a four point deficit.
After giving up a basket and allowing Providence within two, at 68 – 66, Bellocchio redeemed herself from the earlier foul by hitting two free throws with under 40 seconds to go to make the score 70 – 66.
Providence immediately cut that lead in half as they scored an easy layup against a Pride defense looking not to foul. Senior guard Sam Brigham, who lost a tooth in a feisty practice earlier in the week showed her toughness at the end of the game. Brigham hit one of two free throws with 26.3 seconds to go to extend the Pride's lead to three. After a strong defensive possession, Brigham hauled in a defensive board and was fouled once again. The senior put the game away nailing one of two from the line again, with just 12.8 seconds to go, ensuring a 72 – 68 victory for the Pride.