By Mike Rudin - Sports Editor
Disappointment spread like wildfire through the Mack Sports Complex after the Hofstra women’s basketball team lost 71-66 in overtime in the Pride’s season opener against the Central Connecticut Blue Devils.
“Major disappointment not to protect your home tonight in the home opener,” said head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey. “We should’ve taken care of business on our home floor tonight.”
Elo Edeferioka had a career night for the Pride, shooting 22 points in the start of the 2014 season. Despite her performance, Edeferioka was disappointed about the loss, “I don’t feel good at all. We should’ve won the game and this is our first game [of the season]. Losing to the same team for the second time, I’m really not happy about that right now.”
The main problem Steveskey pointed out was her team’s struggle scoring three-pointers, “We were 3 for 20, which was atrocious. We were settling for those [numbers] at times. We were not attacking gaps in the offense. We were standing with the ball over our head.”
Kelly Loftus was looked upon to be the main three-point shooter and she went 1 for 10 from the arc in the season opener.
The final seconds of both the second half and overtime regulation ultimately doomed Hofstra to lose the season opener.
The Pride faithful grew frustrated over two crucial missed layup opportunities by forward Krystal Luciano during the last minute in regulation. The first scoring opportunity came down to the wire with 17 seconds of regulation and Luciano had another chance with another layup that just missed at the buzzer.
Either layup had the potential to pull Hofstra ahead and win the game. Instead, the teams stay tied at 55 and the match went into overtime.
In the last second of overtime Hofstra was behind 66-67 and the referees called two fouls on Hofstra that ended up to be the final dagger. Due to a technical foul on the Pride and a personal foul on Aleana Leon, the fouls setup for Central Connecticut to take five free throw opportunities.
The Blue Devils slowly killed the Pride’s chances and spirit after Central Connecticut shot free throw after free throw to score four points, setting the final score to 71-66.
The Pride showed potential early in the game, taking a 6-0 lead over the Blue Devils in the first 2 minutes and 12 seconds of the game. After the Blue Devils started to gradually catch up, Central Connecticut outshot the Pride 13-4 in the middle of the first half that gave the Blue Devils a four point lead.
Hofstra struggled at points, scoring in the game as the team went on streaks of shooting 3 for 17 in a span of 8 minutes and 28 seconds. The Pride started to find a rhythm by the end of the first half scoring consecutive four shots inside the arc, Central Connecticut took the lead going into the second half 32-30.
Elo Edeferioka surged as the top scorer for the Pride in the first half with nine points. Krystal Luciano stepped up as a vocal leader on the court and provided support with three points, two assists and five defensive rebounds in the first half.
As a unit, the Pride struggled to find their three-point shooter as the team shot 2 for 10 in the first half. Kelly Loftus struggled to rack points, shooting 1 for 6 at the three-point perimeter in the first 20 minutes. Inside the perimeter, Hofstra kept up with central Connecticut as the Pride shot 11 for 30 while the Blue Devils shot 12 for 28.
In the start of the second half, Hofstra started to pick up the pace scoring 19 points in the first 12 minutes. Yet the Pride continued to struggle scoring consistently, hitting another dry spell for the rest of the half as they shot 2 of the last 12 scoring attempts.
The Pride performed well in the paint as they scored 14 points while Central Connecticut put up eight. Elo Edeferioka was the only consistent scorer on the team as she shot eight points in the second half. The Pride struggled to shoot outside the arc, as the Pride made only one three-point shot out of eight attempts.
The missed opportunities by the Pride sent both squads to sudden death. Central Connecticut struck first in overtime regulation, scoring four points giving the Blue Devils the lead 59-55.
Ashunae Durant stepped up for the Pride in overtime hitting back-to-back jumpers, Connecticut shot a free throw in between but Hofstra cut the lead to 60-59 with 3:13 left in the game. After a pair of three-point shots from the Blue Devils, Elo Edeferioka led the Pride offense within one point after she shot five points in the span of 30 seconds.
Hofstra takes on Fairfield University this Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. at the Mack Sports Complex, the Pride will look to bump up their record to .500.