By Joe Barone – STAFF WRITER Pure control. It is the perfect term to describe the latest performance from the Hofstra women’s basketball team in their 66-49 victory over Delaware State to wrap up their non-conference schedule and help head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey tie Harvey Pyser for most career wins in program history.
Coach Kilburn-Steveskey now shares the top spot with Pyser who has 162 career wins. Both coaches earned that milestone in their tenth season.
“I didn’t even know about [the record] until [associate coach Faisal Khan] mentioned it to me today,” said Kilburn-Steveskey. “It is definitely cool, but I’m just glad we were able to get the win against a dangerous opponent.”
Kelly Loftus was nearly unstoppable around the perimeter, scoring a game-high 21 points while adding two assists.
“Kelly had another great game for us, she shot the ball really well,” Kilburn-Steveskey said after the game.
It was Loftus’ first 20-plus point performance since she cashed in 24 against Saint Joseph’s at the Mack Sports Complex back on Dec. 5. It’s Loftus’ third game she score over 20 points 2015-16.
Jakelle King-Gilchrist came off the bench and scored 11 points, reaching double-digits for the second time this season.
With a ten-day break, the Hofstra Pride did everything possible to prepare for Delaware State, especially with conference play around the corner. They effectively focused on the task and held on for the 17-point victory.
“You don’t want to overlook any team,” said Kilburn-Steveskey. “It was dangerous but I am proud of my team,” she added.
From the very beginning, Hofstra grabbed a stronghold on the game. The Pride led 24-6 at the end of the first quarter and that allowed Hofstra to focus on other aspects of their play.
It was a time for Hofstra to dot the i’s and cross the t’s by perfecting their game and in the end they had one of their strongest defensive showings of the season.
Hofstra limited Delaware State to 27 percent shooting from the floor, a number that stood for the entire game. This was their sixth time this season the Pride limited the opposing team to less than 40 percent in converting their shots.
With an extreme amount of applied pressure from the Pride, the Hornets missed 18 of their first 20 shot attempts that contributed to the early blowout in favor of the blue and gold.
Hofstra’s 55-25 advantage heading into the final quarter of action put a spotlight on other players besides their top performers.
Krystal Luciano finished the afternoon with eight points and four assists. Darius Faulk led the Pride with seven assists, she also grabbed nine rebounds and scored seven points. Asia Jackson converted on 50 percent of her shots, scoring seven points, and Anjie White had another strong game back from her injury – she pulled down an even 10 rebounds.
“It makes us very dangerous, we can put a lot of points on the board with a lot of different players,” said Kilburn-Steveskey.
This is why the Hofstra Pride is ready for conference play. Their lineup is one of the deepest in the conference and they have been performing at a high level with a 9-2 record now since the season started. Come Sunday, however, it will be a different game.
Visiting the Mack Sports Complex will be a familiar face – the team Hofstra beat in last season’s CAA Championship Semifinals – the Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens. Tip-off on Sunday is scheduled for 2 p.m.
“All bets are off, this is our most important game,” said Kilburn-Steveskey. “It’ll be a battle, but one we are ready for.”