By Kevin Carroll -- SPORTS EDITOR Early shooting woes proved to be the downfall of the Hofstra women’s basketball team on Sunday afternoon, as a second-half comeback came up just short in a 58-47 loss to Drexel University at the Mack Sports Complex.
“It’s disappointing for the team…they want to win beyond life itself, it’s very frustrating to have to experience that,” said Hofstra head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey after the game.
When these two teams clashed on New Year’s Eve, fans in attendance were treated to a 47-38 Dragons victory in a defensive showdown. Sunday’s rematch played out much in the same way, as two of the best defenses in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) operated at the height of their abilities throughout the game.
Hofstra only managed three points in the first quarter, and had only upped their total to 12 by halftime. The Pride went over ten minutes of action without a field goal in the first half, and shot just 17.4 percent from the floor headed into the break.
Such offensive inefficiency would almost certainly lend to a large deficit and a defeated mindset for most teams, but not Hofstra. They hit the locker room down 26-12, keeping it respectable in large part due to their own stingy defense, keeping the Dragons from blowing the doors off the game early.
“That’s what you love about sports…you could rally back. That’s what sports teaches you,” Kilburn-Steveskey said in regards to her team never losing faith and keeping their spirits up after a bleak start.
In the second half, Hofstra was in search of some sort of spark to wake up the offense. That spark came, in a few different forms. Aleana Leon began to heat up offensively, and her energy seemed to put a jolt in the rest of the team. She would finish with a team-high 11 points and eight rebounds, with eight of those points coming in the second half. Off of the bench, the Pride got production from E’Lexus Davis and Sandra Karsten.
Karsten, in particular, played a pivotal role in getting this team back on track, scoring seven second-half points and picking up a pair of blocked shots on the perimeter.
Drexel’s lead began to dwindle, from 14 at the start of the second half to 10 at the end of the third quarter. In the final quarter, Hofstra put together one last run at the lead, drawing as close as three points after a layup from Boogie Brozoski, who finished as Hofstra’s second-leading scorer with nine points.
Unfortunately, that was as close as Hofstra could get. After a couple of misses from both teams, Drexel’s Kelsi Lidge drained a three-pointer to push the lead back up to six points with six minutes to go.
The Pride couldn’t make it any closer than five points after that, as Drexel went on a mini-run down the stretch that saw the lead balloon back to as many as 14 points, and that was all she wrote as the Dragons improved to 6-1 in conference action, while Hofstra dropped back down to .500 at 4-4.
Next up for the Pride is arguably the team’s toughest game for the rest of the season, a road trip down south to take on James Madison University on Friday, Jan. 26. The Dukes have yet to lose in CAA action this year, and the Convocation Center stacks up year-after-year as the toughest gym to play at in the conference. In the two teams’ prior meeting this season, James Madison won by a 55-42 score.