By Joe Pantorno, Sports Editor
Senior guard Nicole Capurso scored her 1,000th career point as a part of a 20-point effort in the Hofstra women's basketball team's 86-71 victory over Georgia State in the Pride's Colonial Athletic Association opener on Sunday.
"To do it at Georgia State she played well. She played well last year but got into some foul trouble so I think she had some redemption," said head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey. "She kept us in the game in the first half offensively. I'm proud that she got that milestone."
The last time Hofstra travelled to Georgia State, Capurso recorded five fouls as the Pride conceded a late run to Georgia State in an 84-70 loss.
"We certainly had a chip on our shoulder," said Kilburn-Steveskey.
Revenge looked doubtful in the first half as Hofstra shot 13-44 from the field (29.5 percent), but Capurso, with 12 points in the first 20 minutes, led the Pride into the locker room with a 38-33 halftime lead.
"We didn't shoot well in the first half," said Kilburn-Steveskey. "We made adjustments in the second half."
Hofstra began clicking on all cylinders in the second half, using a 9-2 run to take the lead for good four minutes into the final stanza, as scoring efforts were coming from all over the roster.
Headlining the list, senior guard Candice Bellocchio scored 16 points, added eight assists, five rebounds and four steals.
"Candice Bellocchio stepped up," said Kilburn-Steveskey. "That's when you know you have depth and you know you have some good things because you can shut somebody down and have others step up."
It might have taken longer than usual to start lighting up the scoreboard, but Hofstra was finally able to break down the Georgia State defense and venue even though the Panthers found a way to shut down junior forward Shante Evans.
"Well, the problem was we were shooting at somebody else's rim," said Kilburn-Steveskey. "I mean, we shoot near 58 percent at home. You have unfamiliar rims, you have different environments, and that's why it's hard to win on the road. You have to sink your teeth in on the defensive side and you have to share the basketball on the offensive side. They weren't playing Candace Bond, they were tripling Shante Evans."
Bond finished the game with eight points along with key contributions from freshman guard Andreana Thomas with 11 points, and 10 points from sophomore guard Katelyn Loper who played just 17 minutes after being held scoreless in the first half.
The defense made a large contribution as well, limiting Georgia State's leading scorer, forward Chan Harris, to just 11 points.
"We did a phenomenal job on Chan Harris," said Kilburn-Steveskey.
Hofstra improves to 6-1 overall and 1-0 in conference play.
"It kind of sets the tone in the conference," said Kilburn-Steveskey. "It sets you up for positive feedback in the league and it sets a precedent."