By Kevin Carroll -- ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR Darius Faulk took the reins of the Hofstra offense on Sunday afternoon, scoring a career-high 20 points as the Pride held off a late surge to beat Marist 71-67 at McCann Arena.
“She [Darius Faulk] has this ability, she has improved herself so much…I’m very proud of her,” Hofstra head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey said after the game.
It was Faulk’s highest point total since scoring 18 against UNCW last March. She added five rebounds, four assists and four steals. Anjie White had a strong showing in her first game back from injury, scoring eight points and pulling down 11 boards.
White showed no signs of rust or fatigue early, opening the scoring for Hofstra a minute into the game with a jumper. The two teams traded leads back-and-forth throughout the first two quarters, with neither team able to extend the lead past more than six points.
Marist looked to take control of the action early, opening up a 14-8 lead midway through the first quarter. The Pride pulled back to within one point of the lead with a 5-0 run, and took a 17-16 lead off of a Jakelle King-Gilchrist layup with 1:36 left in the quarter. The Red Foxes re-took the lead, but a three-pointer from Aleana Leon put the Pride back in front, 20-18. The quarter ended with the Pride nursing a one-point lead, 20-19.
Tori Jarosz hit a layup to put Marist back in the lead to start the second quarter. The Red Foxes held the lead for most of the quarter, holding the Pride at arm’s length. Hofstra hung tough, however, and clawed back to tie the game at 30. On the next possession, an offensive rebound from Faulk led to a huge three-pointer from Krystal Luciano, putting the Pride ahead by three.
Marist answered with a layup, but Faulk hit a three of her own to make it a 36-32 lead for the Pride heading into halftime.
The Pride came out hot to start the third quarter, scoring five consecutive points to stretch its lead to 11, forcing a Marist timeout. Out of the timeout, the Red Foxes managed to slow the Pride a bit, but Leon and Asia Jackson hit big threes to keep the Pride out in front by a comfortable margin. The Pride led 56-45 heading into the final quarter.
Coming out in the final quarter, the Pride looked to be in complete control, leading 64-49 with just six and a half minutes left to play. But Marist erupted on the offensive end of the floor, going on a 15-2 run to roar back into the game, trailing the Pride just 66-64 with 1:16 left in the game.
However, with the Pride reeling, the senior Faulk hit her biggest shot of the night, draining a three with 45 seconds left to put the Pride ahead by five. Marist cut it to just two points, but Asia Jackson hit two clutch free-throws to make it a 71-67 Pride lead.
With just 17 seconds left, Marist had a chance for a quick score to make it a one-possession game, but Jarosz missed a late jumper, and the Pride ran out the clock, hanging on for the 71-67 victory.
The Hofstra women’s basketball team returns to action on Dec. 30, taking on Delaware State University. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m.