By Robert Pelaez - STAFF WRITER
The Hofstra women’s basketball team defeated the Hawks of St. Joseph’s University, 75-62, at the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex on Saturday.
Kelly Loftus was dominant in the win, coming out strong in the second half and ending up bagging a game-high 24 points, and Ashunae Durant put up 17 points and hauled in 15 boards.
As for St. Joseph’s, Alyssa Monaghan and Kathleen Fitzpatrick were the team’s high scorers, putting up 16 and 21 points, respectively.
The win improved the Pride’s record to 7-1, and drops the Hawks to 2-4 for the year. As for Durant, she has continued to be impressive in her sophomore year, as she put up her fifth double-double in eight games this year.
Krystal Luciano and Asia Jackson also got into the double figures category, scoring 11 and 10 points, respectively.
From the tip-off, Hofstra controlled the tempo of the game and forced the opposition to take outside shots and wouldn’t let them into the paint at all. The Pride controlled the majority of the action throughout the first half, but St. Joseph’s hung around, largely due to the efforts of Monaghan, who had 12 points in the half. The Pride didn’t have a scorer in double-figures in the first half, but eight different players were able to score, leading to a 31-19 halftime lead for Hofstra.
The Pride continued to hold the Hawks at arm’s length throughout the second half, using a flurry of offense from Loftus to squash any potential comebacks from St. Joseph’s.
Loftus, who was 1-5 from three-point range in the first half, simply could not miss, hitting all four three-pointers she attempted in the second half. The Pride fended off the Hawks, who were plagued with foul trouble down the stretch, to improve its record to 7-1 with a 75-63 victory.
Hofstra head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey had a lot of praise for her rotation of Sydney Epps, Durant, Sandra Dongmo and Loftus, keeping the ball moving offensively and defensively forcing the Hawks to have a third of their points from the outside and free throws.
After the game, Loftus was about as humble as you could be after putting up the type of production she did on Saturday.
“I was just playing; nothing was really different for me. I think I just had a lot more confidence today after I had been struggling the past few, but the team kept giving me the ball so it shows they have a lot of trust in me,” Loftus said.
The next game for the Pride will be the start of a three-game road trip, taking on the University of Massachusetts on Wednesday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m.