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Young gun Evans carries Pride over UNCW 73-58

By Ashley Melfi, Staff Writer

Coming off a huge win last Thursday against George Mason, the Hofstra Pride women's basketball team continued their success with a victory over a vengeful Seahawks from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington on Sunday, 73-58.

Senior center Jess Fuller injured her ankle under the Hofstra basket five minutes into the first half and was out for the rest of the game. With a defensive asset to the team sidelined, Hofstra had to depend on newcomer Shante Evans to make an impact.

Scoring 28 points, Evans controlled the boards.  Head Coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey credits Evans for being able to "surprise people because she can defend a guard and then she can defend a very strong post." Even without Fuller, who was out with, "a bad sprain," according to Kilburn-Stevesky, Evans and company were able to, "really step up as a team, and really help each other out," said senior guard Sam Brigham.

Sophomore guard Candice Bellocchio racked up 9 assists and 9 points to help the Pride towards their win. Both Bellocchio and Evans had the fans on their feet for an exciting behind-the-back pass play that electrified the crowd.

UNCW came out with retribution on the mind in hopes to avenge their previous overtime loss against Hofstra, but failed to follow through. With good efforts from Martha White who had 10 points and Brittany Blackwell who had 15 points and 14 rebounds, the Seahawks just couldn't defeat the persistent Pride.

Sophomore guard Nicole Capurso compensated for the loss of Fuller as well, lighting up the 3-point arc (going 4-7) while Brigham scored 16. Kilburn-Steveskey attributed the win to "team play against a good team." The most notable accomplishment for the Pride were the minimal 12-turnovers. "It's the best stat-line we've had all year long," said Kilburn-Stevesky. "[There were] only 3 turnovers in the second half because they know how to make smarter passes.  It's really them just making that extra pass, stepping to the ball. Its all the little things."

Evans committed just one turnover in her 34 minutes of play despite the hectic, rough and physical style of play both teams exhibited. "This is definitely a different level than high school. In high school we would've been done by now so my body's taking a little toll but you know I'm pulling through," the young forward said.

Evans' solid performance helped add a silver lining to Fuller's injury. The team hopes that Fuller recovers quickly, but the Pride look forward to continuing to be successful. With a final comment on the game, Coach Stevesky made known that this win is not one that came so easily. It was a "hard conference battle, which we knew, and a very good UNC Wilmington team that always grinds it out really well on this court, so I was proud of my team…I thought it was a good team win."

 

Shante Evans scored 28 points to lift Hofstra over UNC-Wilmington 73-58 Sunday afternoon at the Mack Sports Complex. (Sean M. Gates/ The Chronicle)

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