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Women's basketball outlasts St. Peter's in hard fought battle

By Joe Pantorno, Sports Editor


JERSEY CITY, NJ-- The Hofstra University women's basketball rebounded from its first loss in a month with a 66-52 win over St. Peter's on Sunday afternoon.

"I loved our energy, our tempo, we were just a little bit rusty in decision making but it was tough to bite," said head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey. "We came out here in an away game and we got the ‘W' any way we could get it."

Junior forward Shante Evans led the Pride with her third double-double of the season with 17 points and 15 rebounds, finding much success under the basket showing off her strength and ability to score with multiple defenders on her.

"We weren't shooting the ball well outside which made it tougher and tougher to get the ball inside because they [St. Peter's] were sagging inside on defense," said Kilburn-Steveskey. "But we definitely started looking for them down the stretch. I mean Tay [Evans] ended up being 5-8 [from the field] so we need to get more touches for her."

It was evident the St. Peter's game plan was to beat up the Pride, playing very physical basketball in order to try and frustrate them, which they managed to find some success in, as the referees lack of whistles and decisions that went against the Pride, began to bother the squad.

Kilburn-Steveskey walked a tightrope in the second half as she was issued a technical foul for discussing a charging call on Evans.

"I kind of lost my head," said Kilburn-Steveskey. "It was brutal and they [the referees] could have blown it [the whistle] every single time down the court. The team had my back when I lost it and I had their back and you know it's going to be tough."

It was Hofstra's versatile, speedy offense and relentless rebounding that was able to break the Peahens down as the game progressed. Senior guard Candice Bellocchio dazzled the crowd with slick ball handling and some impressive passing which included two no-look dishes down low for easy lay-ups. She had nine assists on the day.

Along with Bellocchio's dynamic play, the likes of Evans and junior forward Deven Green, who added 10 points and six rebounds, had Hofstra outrebound its opponents 55-28.

"I was really happy about the rebounding," said Kilburn-Steveskey. "I don't think we've had a 55 number in a long time and that was Shante getting back to her old ways with her 15 rebounds

Hofstra utilized 9-0 and 10-0 runs in the first half alone to take a 33-17 lead going into halftime.

The physical play of St. Peter's effected Hofstra the most at the beginning of the second half, pulling to within eight with three and a half minutes gone in the final 20, but the Pride's ability to get to the line, specifically Evans was able to bury the Peahens.

There was also a debut for the Pride as freshman forward Onyesonam Nolisa played her first minutes of the season, scoring five points with a rebound and assist in 11 minutes.

"I think she did fantastic," said Kilburn-Steveskey. "She's somebody you can trust, a smart player who is not going to do something she knows she can't do. She knows her limitations already and it's kind of a breath of fresh air."

Senior guard Nicole Capurso added 11 points, going 3-8 from three-point land, but she had the most success from beyond the arc as Hofstra, normally a very good three-point shooting team, went just 6-27 from downtown.

"We need to do a better job of making reads and taking better shots when one thing is not working," said Kilburn-Steveskey.

The 7-2 Pride will be hosting the New York Life Invitational starting tomorrow at noon as the Pride takes on Central Connecticut. Auburn and Marist will also be visiting the Mack for the two day tournament. 

Hofstra through to New York Life Holiday Invitational final with win over Central Connecticut

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