By Jason Siegel -- SPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE The Hofstra Pride women’s basketball team picked up their second straight win and second victory in Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play on Sunday afternoon with a 69-61 victory over the host Seahawks of University of North Carolina Wilmington.
The Pride (8-7, 2-2 CAA) got off to a slow start, as they missed their first nine shots from the field. UNCW (7-8, 0-4 CAA) scored the first nine points of the contest, headlined by a jumper and a pair of free throws by Timber Tate.The run was capped off by an old-fashioned three-point play by Lacey Suggs, who would finish with a team-high 18 points and five rebounds for the Seahawks.
Hofstra’s first points came on a layup by E’Lexus Davis with 5:04 remaining in the first period.
UNCW opened up a 12-point lead in the final minute of the first period on a free throw by Grace Sacco.
A jumper by Ashunae Durant in the closing seconds of the first quarter cut UNCW’s advantage to 18-8.
In the second quarter, it was the Pride who started fast. Hofstra opened the second quarter on a 14-2 run. They knocked down seven of their first 10 shots of the quarter and held the Seahawks scoreless for almost five minutes. A jumper by Aleana Leon gave the Pride their first lead at 22-20 with 5:25 left in the second period.
UNCW responded with a 7-0 run of their own on two free throws each by Chinyere Bell and Suggs. A three-pointer by Jenny DeGraaf with 3:34 left in the second quarter gave UNCW a 27-22 lead. DeGraaf’s triple was the first three-pointer made by either team in the contest.
The teams traded baskets for the remainder of the half until an old-fashioned three-point play by Durant with 33 seconds left cut Hofstra’s halftime deficit to 31-29.
The second half began with a bucket by Boogie Brozoski, who paced the Pride with 18 points on 6-11 shooting to go along with six rebounds and three assists.
After DeGraaf’s second 3-pointer of the game, Olivia Askin hit Hofstra’s first three-pointer of the contest with 7:29 left in the third quarter. Askin finished with eight points and hit two of Hofstra’s four buckets from beyond the arc.
Hofstra took a lead that it would not relinquish with 6:48 left in the third quarter on a pair of free throws by Marianne Kalin that put the Pride up 38-36.
A three-pointer by Brozoski opened up a 52-46 lead for Hofstra with 55 seconds left in the third frame, but Suggs scored the final five points of the third quarter on a three-pointer and a layup, cutting Hofstra’s lead to 52-51 heading into the fourth quarter.
After layups by Mikiyah Croskey and Brozoski provided the Pride with a 56-51 lead, a basket by Rebekah Banks sliced the Seahawks deficit to 56-53 with 8:19 remaining.
A three-pointer by Askin extended Hofstra’s lead to 59-53, but UNCW cut it to 59-55 on a DeGraaf jumper.
The Pride defense played a key role down the stretch, as they held the Seahawks scoreless from the 6:07 mark of the fourth quarter until 2:38 remained in the game.
UNCW also played stout defense in the fourth quarter, holding Hofstra without a field goal over the final 3:27, but Hofstra made six free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
In addition to Brozoski’s 18 points, Durant added 17 and Leon added 10 points.
Hofstra showed the ability to shake off a slow start in this game, as they shot 44 percent in the game after shooting 4-18 (22 percent) from the floor in the first quarter.
They also went 2-1 on a three-game CAA road trip and will look to extend their current two-game win streak on Friday when they return to the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition complex for a battle with the Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens at 7:00 pm.