By Joe Pantorno, Sports Editor
In its Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) home opener, the Hofstra University women's basketball team defeated Drexel 76-65 to improve to 10-3 on the season overall and 2-0 in CAA play.
"It's great to finally get the real conference season rolling," said Hofstra head coach Kirsta Kilburn-Steveskey. "It's good to get a win, a good team win."
Junior forward Shante Evans led Hofstra with her fifth consecutive double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds, shooting 7-10 from the field while being heavily contested by two or three Drexel defenders.
"I have to shoot with two, three people on me every single time [down low]," said Evans. "It helps my confidence. I've been getting double and tripled team every game so far so that has helped me up to this point."
After a closely contested first half that had Hofstra trying to find answers for Drexel's Kamile Nacickaite and Hollie Mershon, who finished with 18 and 21 points respectively, an early 10-2 second half run helped put the Pride up 13 with 14:53 remaining.
"It [the run] was big," said Kilburn-Steveskey. "Drexel is a team that really fights back. We know they don't quit, they play really well, even if they get punched, the come fighting back. But we certainly set the tone in the second half that we were for real and I was proud of the team for not letting up."
After a four game stretch in which Hofstra shot less than 40 percent from the field, along with Evans, senior guard Nicole Capurso (17), sophomore guard Katelyn Loper (15) and junior forward Candace Bond (11) provided double-digit scoring efforts as the Pride shot 48.1 percent from the field.
"As a team, we know we have to play better when it comes to conference play," said Loper. "It really doesn't surprise me that we shot that well because of who we have. If we keep attacking the basket, we'll be fine."
Along with her 11 points, Bond provided three steals, which could have been many more, and was constantly in the middle of Drexel offensive moves, breaking down the play.
It was Evans and Bond who led an assault on the boards as Hofstra managed to out-rebound a larger Drexel side 39-36.
"We average about 43 rebounds per game so we were a little bit under but their [Drexel's] guards rebound," said Kilburn-Steveskey. "They present a different type of issue. We got some rebounds by other people which was pretty big."
Hofstra and CAA favorites Delaware are the only remaining unbeaten teams in conference play, both sitting at 2-0.
"It's great [for our confidence]," said Kilburn-Steveskey. "We talked about getting our swagger back after a loss [to Princeton] no matter how well you think you're playing, no matter if you're playing against a good team."
Hofstra is back in action on Sunday when it travels to William & Mary.