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Pride season ends in WNIT

By Joe Pantorno, Sports Editor

There were 7.2 seconds left in the Hofstra women's basketball team's season.

Even though she scored 23 points, Harvard's Catherine Clark provided a golden opportunity for Hofstra.

After a furious comeback from the Pride, Clark missed her first of a one-and-one free throw opportunity with Hofstra trailing 73-71.

Junior forward Shante Evans, who scored 24 points and 15 rebounds, came down with the board and fed senior guard Candice Bellocchio who sent a cross court pass to sophomore guard Katelyn Loper.

Four seconds left.

The pass was a little behind Loper as her momentum stopped. She quickly fed junior forward Candace Bond, who drove to the net from the top of the key as time was expiring. Going up for the last-second floater, Bond collided with a Harvard defender.

Buzzer.

Both benches looked to the referees who, without a signal, walked off the court, giving Harvard the two-point victory as the Crimson moved onto the next round of the WNIT while Hofstra's season ended in heartbreaking fashion.

"Something should have been [called]," said head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey. "It was one of those tough kind of situations where they decided to let it go, but we could have executed better."

Hofstra had done well just to get back in the game, trailing by as many as 13 points on two different occasions in the second half, beginning to chip away from the latter deficit with 10:52 left in the game.

The Pride's approach to its comeback was eerily similar and all too different.

Not only did Hofstra give the ball to junior forward Shante Evans, who scored 15 of her 24 points in the second half, but also to Bond, who recorded 18 points. The Pride's defensive staple, Bond, has seen her offensive game skyrocket this year, evolving her game brilliantly on both ends of the ball.

"The last two games, Te Te [Evans] has been needing that reprieve from the four all year long," said Kilburn-Steveskey. "Because she goes to work and it's hard for her when she has the whole team on her... So it was nice that she could distribute it to Bond. I wish Bond would have taken a few others. They had no answer for her tonight... Certainly proud of her."

Not only was Evans difficult to stop scoring, but the junior also added 16 rebounds, 10 of them on the offensive boards as Harvard could not find an answer to number 30's game.

When it came to finding the answers however, Hofstra could not discover how to stop Harvard's offense, especially from long range. The Crimson went 5-11 from three-point range in the first half alone, with guard Brogan Berry sinking four of them on her way to a game high 26 points, 21 coming in the first half.

"Coach was talking all week about slowing her down and how she's a great point [guard] and you can't lose her," said senior guard Candice Bellocchio. "It was just miscommunication. I lost her in the first half."

When Berry went cold in the second half, guard Christine Clark picked up the slack, scoring 10 of  her 23 points in the second half to keep Hofstra at bay.

Hofstra drew within one point, 69-68, with 1:26 left in the game when sophomore guard Katelyn Loper hit her first three-pointer of the game, a stat the Pride did not want to see in such a big game. 

A lay-up from Clark and two free throws from Berry after a senior guard Nicole Capurso missed three put Harvard up five with 24 seconds left.

Loper, who was silenced all game, refused to go quietly, hitting another three with nine seconds left. Hofstra's sharpshooter was held to eight points on the night.

Katelyn Loper walks off the court after the Pride’s WNIT loss to Harvard. (Cody Heintz/The Chronicle)

Overheard at Hofstra

Overheard at Hofstra