The Hofstra Pride women’s basketball team suffered its sloppiest game of the year in a 69-67 overtime loss to the Hartford Hawks on Friday Dec. 30 at the David S. Mack Sports Complex. Ashunae Durant finished with 16 points and 16 rebounds, her seventh double-double of the season, but it wasn’t enough as the Pride committed a season-high 25 turnovers against Hartford’s strong defense.
“As far as the turnovers go, tonight was a tough night for us, but we just have to make sure that we’re stronger with the ball. When it comes to the freshman, they’re young so they’re going to make mistakes,” Pride forward Sydni Epps said.
“As upperclassmen, we’re going to make some mistakes as well. It’s about getting over those mistakes and moving onto the next play.”
The Hawks’ guard-heavy attack was led by Deanna Mayza. The five-foot-seven-inch point guard scored 26 points, dished out four assists and had three of Hartford’s 11 steals in the game.
The Pride started off with a stable defense of their own, holding a 13-4 advantage after a Sandra Dongmo layup midway through the first quarter.
Hartford stormed back on a 9-0 run, capped by a Mayza jumper that tied the game at 13 with two minutes left in the first period. A layup off of an offensive rebound by Aleana Leon put the Pride up two through one quarter.
Epps scored three times in the first four minutes of the second quarter to make the score 25-20 in favor of Hofstra. She finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds, her first career double-double.
A Sandra Kartsen layup in transition gave Hofstra an eight-point lead in the latter stages of the second quarter. Lee Darby then nailed a jumper for Hartford, getting those two points right back to make it a 30-24 Pride lead with just under four minutes left in the first half.
Neither team would score for the rest of the quarter to preserve a six-point lead for Hofstra headed into the halftime intermission.
Two made free throws by Leon put Hofstra up 34-28 with three minutes gone in the third quarter. She finished with 10 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Hartford’s Lindsey Abed nailed a three-pointer and then hit a two-point jump shot in consecutive possessions to trim Hofstra’s lead to one with six minutes left in the third.
Durant answered by hitting four straight free throws at the line, which was then followed by a Luciano layup to give Hofstra a four-point lead with two minutes remaining in the third frame.
Hofstra’s three-pointer specialist Ana Hernandez-Gil nailed two threes in the final minutes of the quarter to give the Pride a 52-42 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Hartford refused to die as they went on an 11-2 run to get back within one with 4:38 remaining in the game after an Abed layup off of a turnover. The Hawks scored 22 points off of Pride turnovers.
Hofstra created some distance with a Leon free throw and a layup by Durant, but a clutch three-pointer by Mayza with 12 seconds left brought the Hawks within one.
Hartford fouled Ana Hernandez-Gil on the ensuing inbounds and the freshman went 1-2 from the line, giving Hofstra a two-point lead.
After Hofstra committed a foul with four seconds left, Alyssa Reaves scored a layup off of the inbounds pass from the baseline, tying the game at 63, and sending this one to OT.
Both teams hit three-pointers midway through the overtime period. A Leon free throw put the Pride up 67-66 with 1:57 remaining.
Mayza then got fouled and drained both free throws to give Hartford their first lead of the game with 1:12 left in overtime.
Hofstra would turn the ball over twice in the final minute of action and not even attempt a shot to tie.
The Pride were forced to foul Sierra DaCosta, who hit a free throw for the final score of the game, making 69-67 the final tally in favor of Hartford. DaCosta finished with 11 points and five assists.
Hofstra fell to 7-4 on the year while Hartford moved to 9-4 overall.
The Pride begins conference play on Monday, Jan. 2 when they host the Northeastern Huskies at 2 p.m. at the David S. Mack Sports Complex.