By Gio Annatelli -- STAFF WRITER Behind the stingy defense, the Hofstra Pride was able to steal a game from the Drexel Dragons, winning 61-54. Ashunae Durant recorded her eighth double-double of the year with 17 points and 17 rebounds.
The home victory improves the Pride’s record to 20-7 overall and 11-5 in the CAA. The win also puts Hofstra tied for second in the conference and raises their home record to 11-1 on the season. Drexel falls to 15-12 overall and 11-5 in the CAA. This is also Hofstra’s first time posting back-to-back 20-win seasons as a Division I program after going 20-13 last year.
The Pride’s defense was a big part of the win, as Hofstra was in a full-court press for most of the game and played aggressively in man-to-man defense. The Dragons were held to just 32 percent shooting from the field, and just 25 percent from beyond the arc. Only three players scored more than five points for Drexel. The team also turned the ball over 12 times.
With Kelly Loftus and Asia Jackson out due to injuries, Durant stepped up to record her 15th career double-double, tying her career high in rebounds, which she last got one year ago against the same team. Even though she went 0-8 from the field and only had two points, Darius Faulk factored a large amount in the victory. She nearly had a double-double with eight rebounds and 10 assists, and played huge on defense with two steals.
“We know the value [of Faulk],” said Hofstra head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey. “[Statistics] don’t show everything.”
Krystal Luciano played big for her team, scoring 15 points and hitting it from deep three times. Anjie White was also near a double-double, scoring 11 points and pulling down eight rebounds.
For the Dragons, it was Jessica Pellechio who put her team on her back, scoring 20 points on 7-of-19 shooting. The team was also helped by Rachel Pearson, who had eight points and hit two clutch threes down the stretch to keep her team within.
After scoring 23 points against Elon in the game before, Sarah Curran was mostly shut down, only able to muster up eight points on 3-of-14 shooting. Five other players scored for the Dragons, but were unable to score more than five points.
After Drexel opened up the scoring in the first quarter, Hofstra went on a 7-2 run. Shortly after that run, the Pride went on a 9-3 run behind two three-pointers from Luciano to close out the first quarter leading 16-9.
The Pride jumped out to a 11-point lead before the Dragons brought the score to 20-15 thanks to a Pellechio four-point play. Hofstra would go on another run to distance themselves to 29-19, but Pellechio would answer, cutting the Pride's lead to 29-24 heading into halftime.
After Drexel brought the score to 31-30 in the third quarter, Hofstra went on yet another run to put the score at 40-30. After two free throws from the Dragons, the Pride scored six unanswered to have its biggest lead of the day, at 14 points.
The Dragons wouldn’t go away, closing the deficit to 48-42 in the fourth quarter, but yet again Hofstra would break away to go up nine. Again bringing it within six, a couple clutch free throws and a breakaway layup from Durant would seal the 61-54 victory for the Pride.
Hofstra outrebounded Drexel 45-38 and out-assisted the Dragons 18-11.
The Pride is back in action Sunday, hosting the College of Charleston Cougars in a 2 p.m. matchup. It’ll also be Hofstra’s Senior Night.