By Max Sass, Editor in Chief
After beating Providence last season there was a certain sense of accomplishment surrounding the Hofstra women's basketball team. Providence was a Big East opponent, a nice victory for the mid-major Pride.
But last Thursday night's thrashing of Seton Hall – another Big East squad – proved that, while the win was nice, the Pride could wait for something bigger before holding a celebration.
"I remember going up to BC [Boston College in 2008] and they changed to the ACC and I remember when we were young and people were looking at the ACC logo on the floor," head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey said. "I think we've been past that, definitely for the last two years."
And this was a quality victory. Seton Hall was 5-2 coming into the game, including a victory over fellow CAA member Old Dominion.
The Pride is a team with clear NCAA Tournament ambitions. No longer should Kilburn-Steveskey's squad be satisfied with an early season win, because this team is talented enough to be playing – and beating -- high major teams in the postseason.
Since last year's season opening loss to a talented Virginia squad, the Pride has won five of six games against BCS conference teams, beating Providence, Seton Hall (twice), St. John's and Kansas State along the way and only losing to Cincinnati.
Playing against schools of that caliber is of course made easier when you have high-major talent on your own team, specifically junior forward Shante Evans, who ran through, over and around any Seton Hall player that tried to defend her Thursday night. Evans finished with 14 points, playing just 17 minutes and spending much of that time deferring to teammates.
The Pride played a fearless, unintimidated game against Seton Hall, jumping out to early leads of 7-0 and 15-3 and employing an aggressive full-court press.
Seton Hall did show its talent, specifically senior point guard Jasmine Crew who finished with 25 points. The Pirates even rallied early, cutting a large deficit to just 26-18, but the Pride showed its resiliency and talent, reeling off an immediate 10-0 run to essentially end the game almost as soon as it had started.
Kilburn-Steveskey has put a challenging slate of games in front of her team, and the squad has been successful thus far. There are more challenges to come, though. The Pride will host the New York Life Holiday Invitational on December 21 and 22 and will face either SEC opponent Auburn or the MAAC's Marist, a team that reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year.