By Joe Pantorno, Assistant Sports Editor
The Hofstra women's basketball team ended a three-game skid Thursday night as the Pride grabbed its first conference win of the season against Towson University, 66-55.
The game began slowly, with both teams shooting poorly in the first two and half minutes. Sophomore center Shante Evans' driving lay up with two and a half minutes gone was the first points of the game.
Towson replied with a 10-0 run as Hofstra's shots were not falling and began giving the ball away.
"I wasn't concentrating on my lay ups," said Evans. "I went up too strong and was throwing the ball over.
With all of Hofstra's struggles in the first ten minutes of the game, the defense was able to keep things close with the Pride only down five with Towson leading 19-9 with nine minutes left in the first half.
Towson did a great job slowing down Hofstra's fast pace as the Pride's full court press was not as effective as it has been, thus disrupting Hofstra's offense on the fast break.
With Hofstra down seven, teams began trading baskets as the first half wound down. The Pride began to find some easier looks at the basket. Towson however was still able to beat the Hofstra press.
At halftime, Towson led 30-25 as the Hofstra defense began to break down, not to the excitement of Steveskey.
"I don't usually scream a lot on the shooting part of it," said Steveskey. "But I did start telling them they needed to focus on finishing inside."
Evans led the Pride with eight points and sophomore guard Candace Bond added seven. Hofstra shot only 23 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes.
"That's probably the lowest we shot [this season]," said Steveskey. "It was one of those things we certainly didn't need to focus on what just happened."
It looked like night and day with the Pride offense as two consecutive three-pointers from freshman guard Kate Loper and junior guard Nicole Capurso gave Hofstra a 33-32 lead. It was Hofstra's first lead since they led the game 2-0 in the opening minutes.
The defense sprang to life as the full court press stopped Towson in its tracks creating turnovers and initiating some sloppy Tiger play. The offense kept grinding out points as the Pride started the half on a 17-2 run, opening up a 42-32 lead.
"I think we made adjustments to tighten up our man to man defense," said Steveskey. "We are a better man team, we play some pretty good zone as well, but definitely our bread and butter is man."
The rout continued as Towson's offense appeared non-existent under Hofstra's defensive pressure. The physical play picked up as the lead grew larger and with 12 minutes remaining, Hofstra's lead was at 13, all apart of a 30-5 run in the half's first ten minutes.
Even where Tigers succeeded in the first half, under the boards, Hofstra was able to take over that aspect of the game as well, picking up some big offensive boards and creating second chance points.
As the second half progressed, Towson looked to be getting increasingly tired, as they could not keep up with Hofstra's fast paced play as the Pride opened up its lead to 16 with six and a half minutes left.
Towson found their legs, trying to cut the Hofstra deficit and that is just what they did. A Hofstra 16 point lead became an eight-point lead with four and a half minutes remaining in the game.
The lead shrank to six points after Towson's senior guard Simona Petronyte sank a three with 2:52 left.
With the lead still at six, and with a minute and a half remaining, Towson began to send Hofstra to the foul line where the Pride iced the game at the charity stripe after some big defensive stops.
"Definitely a hard fought conference game tonight," said Steveskey. "It was good to get our first home ‘W' here in conference."