By Lauren Del Valle Assistant News Editor
Women’s basketball looks to advance in post-season play against Drexel in the quarterfinals of the Colonial Athletic Association Championship tournament this Friday in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
The team finished the regular season 14-14 overall and 8-8 in the CAA. Drexel boasts a similar record with 14-15 in the regular season and 9-7 in the CAA. Drexel and Hofstra go into the tournament as fourth and fifth seeds, respectively.
The Pride pulled out a two-point victory in the last 20 seconds of each of the two matchups against the Dragons this season. The two teams are evenly matched in personnel and strategic style. Both teams play a deep bench with four or five particularly standout players.
Seniors Anma Onyeuku and Annie Payton lead the team in points, averaging 11.7 and 11.5 points per game, respectively. Each player has been named CAA Player-of-the-Week at some point this season. Payton has had five 20-point performances this season. The team attributes much of its season success to the leaders.
“We were 1-4 at one point in conference play and Krista has relied on Annie and AO to keep this group together,” said assistant coach Khan. “We finished seven and four.”
Hofstra won four of their last six games, three of which were conference matches. The Pride closed CAA regular season play on the road at William & Mary. The double overtime 80-77 victory was the first double-overtime match for Hofstra since 1993.
The Pride overcame a nine-point deficit in the first overtime set to take the Tribe into the second.
Payton and Onyeuku tallied 22 points apiece. Onyeuku would have the game-tying trey in the first overtime period.
Freshman guard Krystal Luciano almost notched a triple-double with 10 points, eight rebounds and eight assists against the Tribe. Freshman guard Kelly Loftus tied the first overtime period with a clutch free throw.
The Pride concluded regular season play in the Mack Arena in a rescheduled nonleague match against NJIT. With 18 turnovers and only a three-point margin of victory, Khan called it painful to watch.
Looking forward this week to the CAA tournament, the squad sought to hone transition game and defense. Tapering training for the Friday 2:30 p.m. matchup, the Pride heads down to Maryland on Thursday.