UPPER MARLBORO, MD- The fifth seeded Hofstra women’s basketball team gets to fight for another day at the Show Place Arena after defeating no. 4 Northeastern 57-52 in the CAA quarterfinals.
Hofstra rolled in determined to come out on top against a Northeastern side that it had lost to twice this season.
“It’s always a great contest playing Northeastern,” said head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey. “I’m incredibly proud of my team.”
Sophomore guard Andreana Thomas, after a tough first half, led Hofstra with 15 points while also adding five rebounds and five assists.
“Look at the maturity of that, she didn’t have the best first half,” said Kilburn-Steveskey. “She was getting to the paint…I told her to keep doing what she was doing and that she was doing a great job.”
Northeastern had the better start, dominating the first half. Hofstra had its only lead of the opening 20 minutes when Annie Payton’s opening three-pointer gave the Pride a 3-0 lead 1:15 into the game.
Early foul trouble for senior forward Shante Evans put Hofstra at a disadvantage. Just four minutes into the game, Evans had picked up two fouls. She spent the rest of the half on the bench.
A’lece Mark was the Northeastern’s leading scorer in the first half with nine points as she developed into a continuing problem for the Pride.
“We were a little bit star-struck in the first half,” said Kilburn-Steveskey. “We were playing hard but not necessarily our best.”
Senior forward Deven Green’s seven points helped ensure Hofstra remained with touching distance, going into halftime down 29-22.
Hofstra looked a different side in the second half, surging their way to the lead in four minutes. With 16 points in the opening 6:30 of the second, Hofstra displayed a hustle and grit that began breaking Northeastern spirits.
“What we did in the second half and how they responded, that’s what we talked about in the locker room… We needed to wanted it more and they did it,” said Kilburn-Steveskey. “They really did it from the start of the second half where there was a loose ball, 50/50, going out of bounds and I have to give our team a lot of credit to really responding like that because that was the only difference from the first half to the second half.”
With the return of Evans, who went on to score six points and record 11 rebounds, Hofstra managed to make its way to the free throw line 22 times compared to just eight trips for Northeastern.
Where free throws have been problematic for Hofstra (it shot only 50% on the day), Thomas managed to ice the game at the line in the final 13 seconds.
Hofstra is next in action tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. when it takes on top seeded Delaware in the conference semifinals.