While the rest of us have been home enjoying a nice Thanksgiving break, the Hofstra women’s basketball team has been working right along, taking a road trip out west to California for a two-game swing, the first of which being this evening’s 5 p.m. showdown with Sacramento State. The Hornets (interestingly enough, the second team in a row that Hofstra has faced with that nickname, following Delaware State) are just 1-4 on the season, with the lone win coming over Cal Poly two weeks ago. Most recently, Sacramento State found itself on the wrong end of an absolute shootout with Youngstown State, losing 102-94, a score more common in the NBA than in women’s college basketball.
One thing is for sure: the Hornets can flat-out score. They’ve been held under 80 points just once this season, and have scored 90-plus points in three of the first five games. Sacramento State features four players averaging over ten points per game, including senior guard Emily Easom, who’s averaging 14.g points per game, and is shooting an impressive 35 percent from deep.
While the Hornet’s offensive statsheet is impressive, it pales in comparison to just how good opposing offenses look against their defense. Sacramento State is giving up a whopping 97.4 points per game, easily on par with the worst defenses in Division I college basketball.
The Hornets give up over 50 rebounds per game, allowing opponents to shoot over 58 percent from the field. Those types of numbers don’t add up to victories, and it becomes easier to see why a team that could score the basketball like this isn’t necessarily showing up in the win column all too much.
This matchup is a clash of two distinct styles, the run-and-gun Sacramento State offense versus the gritty, tough-as-nails Hofstra defense that has become a trademark of this team for years.
Something’s got to give in this one, and I think Hofstra’s offense, while not posting eye-popping numbers, is still prone to do more damage on the Hornets’ subpar defense, than the other way around.
Ana Hernandez Gil has become the Pride’s top option from deep, shooting 50 percent from deep in her freshman year. With the fifth starting spot seemingly open after Sandra Karsten wasn’t able to do much in the role last time out, look for Hernandez Gil to slip into the rotation and bury a couple of open looks against this soft defense.
On the inside, no one has had an answer for Ashunae Durant yet, and while Sacramento State has a very solid inside presence in Margaret Huntington, she’s not going to have the help necessary to contain Durant, who has had double-doubles in her last two games and has yet to be held under 13 points at all this season.
The style and flow of this game may be a bit tough to predict, with this clash of styles, but Hofstra has looked sharp all season against arguably better competition than the Hornets have faced, and that should be reflected in tonight’s final score.