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Hofstra hangs on for thrilling win over previous unbeaten UC Davis

Ashunae Durant had 14 points and 13 rebounds, including a late offensive rebound off of a missed free throw to seal the deal for Hofstra in a wild 64-60 victory over UC Davis on Sunday evening in California. After a sluggish start in which the Pride found itself trailing by as much as 11 in the first half, the team battled back down the stretch to regain the lead, and to hold onto it as the Aggies tried to surge ahead in the closing minutes.

After a strong showing in the third quarter to take a slim lead heading into the final quarter, Hofstra fell behind again, thanks to sharp shooting from three-point land from the Aggies.

UC Davis connected on three deep balls to maintain the lead in the final quarter, but the Pride kept scratching and clawing, never letting the Aggies’ lead grow to more than four points.

Down four with just over two minutes to go, Hofstra needed a spark, and Sydni Epps answered the call, knocking down a three-pointer to cut UC Davis’ lead to just a single point with 2:15 to go.

After a stop on the defensive end, the Pride came back up the floor, and an Aleana Leon layup put the Pride back on top, 59-58 with just a minute and a half left on the clock.

Epps would come back and score again, this time on a third-chance opportunity after she grabbed two of her own missed shots, to stretch the lead to 61-58.

The Aggies would score once more to slice the lead back to a single point, but failed to capitalize on two missed free throws from point guard Krystal Luciano with five seconds left.

Durant, who has caused problems for opposing defenses all year with her strength and agility around the low block, grabbed the offensive rebound, and after a quick UC Davis foul, calmly knocked down two free throws to ice the game.

Durant’s double-double is her fourth in a row, dating back to the Pride’s loss against Navy. The junior has been all over the statsheet so far in this young season, averaging just over 17 points and 11 rebounds per game.

She’s atop the CAA leaderboard in total rebounds and rebounds per game, the only player in the conference to be averaging in double-figures in rebounding so far this year.

Luciano added 13 points and nine rebounds, both season-highs for the senior point guard. She also chipped in six assists, adding to her CAA-leading total of 39. She’s averaging 6.5 assists per contest.

Aleana Leon added 10 points, and Sandra Dongmo totaled seven points and nine rebounds, despite only seeing 12 minutes of action in Sunday’s contest.

The win improved Hofstra’s record to 4-2, while UC Davis suffered its first loss of the season, dropping to 5-1.

Hofstra ends its two-game stint in California with a split, after falling victim to the high-powered offense of Sacramento State on Friday afternoon.

The Pride has one more game on this road trip, coming all the way back to upstate New York to take on the University at Buffalo on Sunday at noon.

The Bulls are a perfect 6-0 right now, with one more game to play against Central Florida on Thursday before tangling with the Pride.

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