By Joe Pantorno, Assistant Sports Editor
The Hofstra University women's basketball team's 79-65 victory over the College of William & Mary pulled the Pride's record to .500 in CAA play at 5-5 and 13-8 overall on the season.
Hofstra's guards found sophomore forward Shante Evans down low early as the star scored five points as a part of the Pride's 12-2 run to start the game.
The defense was as stifling as ever, creating a plethora of early turnovers and forcing William & Mary to take some bad shots. Like its win against Delaware on Sunday, the likes of Evans and sophomore guard Candace Bond were able to control the boards on any mistakes.
Hofstra continued to out-hustle the Tribe to create more scoring chances as the Pride led 18-10 with 11:28 left in the first half.
William & Mary put together a run to get back in the game, cutting the Hofstra lead to 23-22 with 5:35 remaining as the Pride was plagued by some sloppy basketball.
Hofstra went back to basics and began to put the ball back in Evans' hands to try and reestablish a comfortable lead. The Pride was able to do just that to finish off the last two and a half minutes of the first half as the teams hit the locker room with Hofstra leading 36-29.
"Every day it's just practice and shooting drills," said Evans. "I get plenty of thousands of shots a week from outside and was able to hit them today."
Along with Evans' 11 points, freshman guard Kate Loper, who has been lighting it up from three-point range all year, added eight of her own.
"I think we fought through some frustration in the first half," said head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey. "Mary did a good job to mix up their defense."
The Pride opened up a 10 point lead within the first four minutes of the second half with the score at 46-36. Hofstra used defensive pressure and a very fast pace to continue to disrupt William & Mary's offensive game plan that tried to slow down the tempo of the game.
The quick paced offense of the Pride continued to run circles around the tired Tribe as some great ball movement had an exhausted William & Mary side on its back heels.
The lead grew to 63-42 with just under 11 minutes left in the game as Loper found her stroke from beyond the arc and Bond continued to be a defensive force to be reckoned with.
The great Hofstra ball movement continued to pick apart William & Mary as the passing had no trouble finding the open woman, whether it be Evans down low or Loper from long range. The lead grew to 25 with Hofstra leading 71-46 with 7:30 remaining.
"I was trying to get in the flow of things," said Loper. "If I miss, it's on to the next one and I think that's what's helping me."
Steveskey was able to give her younger players some minutes; however there was no drop off of quality or defensive pressure.
The stellar play allowed Hofstra to head into cruise control for the final six minutes of the game and run out the clock with the style of play that was baffling the Tribe all evening.
Evans finished with 19 points and 9 rebounds, Loper added 16 points and Bond had seven steals in the Pride's winning effort.
"It's great to get back to back wins, especially in this conference," said Steveskey. "You don't take anything for granted so it was great to have a good team effort."
The Pride is back in action on Sunday when it travels down to Virginia to take on George Mason.