Sophomore forward Shante Evans had 25 points and 12 rebounds, but the Hofstra University women's basketball team dropped an 85-76 decision to Virginia Commonwealth University on Sunday night.
A very close first half saw Evans and freshman guard Kate Loper score more than over half of the Pride's points. Loper, who scored 12 points in the first half, got a lot of minutes with junior guard Nicole Capurso only playing nine minutes in the opening frame.
"It was physicality that really made the decision," said Hofstra head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey. "Kate was bigger so she was able to deal with VCU's physical play better."
Evans had 16 points along with Loper's 12, but only three other Hofstra players made their way to the score sheet going into the break.
A lay-up by junior guard Asia Jenkins with 21 seconds left knotted the game at 40-40 going into halftime despite Hofstra playing its normally quick paced game.
"They [VCU] ran with us," said Steveskey. "They didn't try and hold us back."
The second half saw the emergence of VCU's star junior forward Courtney Hurt as the Rams finally began breaking down Hofstra's defense by outrebounding the Pride and creating second chances. VCU had a 54-33 advantage on the glass by the final buzzer.
"It was horrible," said Kilburn-Steveskey. "We can do better boxing out. There were debacles where they got 3-4 offensive rebounds."
Despite the inability to rebound and Hurt well on her way to a monster 26 point, 15 rebound game, Hofstra held a lead for a majority of the second half. It was not until a jumper by Hurt with 5:38 left in the game, did VCU take a 70-69 lead.
"In the second half we were not pressing as much on defense as we did in the first half," said Steveskey. "It kind of hurt us, especially with the game as physical as it was."
The Rams did not relinquish the lead either, opening up a nine-point lead, and then trading baskets with the Pride to close out the game.
Despite the nine-point loss, Steveskey had some positives to bring out of the game, especially in what she saw in sophomore guard Candace Bond.
"Bondie was a terminator again on defense and created havoc," said Kilburn-Steveskey. "She has definitely been the most improved