Ashunae Durant bounced back from a slow start to finish with her sixth double-double in seven games to lead the Hofstra women’s basketball team to a 72-67 overtime victory over visiting American University.
Durant tied her career high with 23 points, broke her career high in assists with six, and was Hofstra’s anchor on the boards, grabbing 12 rebounds.
Point guard Krystal Luciano put up an impressive stat line herself, as she chipped in 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
Durant started slow, scoring just two points in the first quarter and suffering an apparent knee injury that forced her to sit for the back end of the opening frame, but as the contest wore on her teammates sought to get her more involved in the game.
By the fourth quarter, the entire offense was running through Durant as she and Luciano routinely altered between pick and rolls and pick and pops to create open looks. Durant scored five of her 23 points in the overtime period, including a clutch go-ahead bucket from the post with 1:05 left on the clock that effectively sealed the Pride’s victory.
Hofstra improved to 6-3 with the win while American dropped to 3-6 on the season.
This back-and-forth effort included 12 lead changes and six ties that kept fans on the edge of their seats throughout the game.
The Pride struggled to find the basket for most of the night as it finished shooting just under 35 percent on 23-65 shooting.
American, on the other hand, shot nearly 52 percent on 28-54 from the floor as its quick-paced offense created a plethora of open looks both in the low post and from the three-point line.
Looking at the field-goal percentages only, one would expect American to have pulled out the victory, but turnovers, rebounds and free throws were the difference for the Pride.
Hofstra won the turnover battle by a wide margin, turning the ball over 13 times compared to the Eagles’ 20.
Hofstra won the battle on the boards as well, pulling in 41 rebounds compared to its foe’s 30, which is impressive considering that American had a clear height advantage at nearly every position on the court.
The biggest difference in this game, however, was free throws. American shot an abysmal 3-13 from the charity stripe, good for 23.1 percent, while Hofstra got to the line with regularity and hit 18 of its 22 tries with Durant going 7-7.
At times it felt like the Pride could simply not take the lid off the basket as it went through multiple scoreless stretches, one of four minutes early in the first quarter and another three-minute scoring drought early in the fourth quarter.
This is something Hofstra must work on as the season wears on.
This game was a good test of where Hofstra stands in its conference right now as American has already faced two CAA opponents, losing to Delaware 56-55 and losing to the College of William & Mary 48-34.
Hofstra has a long break to take final exams between games, and won’t face another opponent until Dec. 22 when the Pride travels to Philadelphia to play St. Joseph’s University.