By Kevin Carroll -- STAFF WRITER The dreaded injury bug took a wicked bite out of the Hofstra women’s basketball team on Friday, depriving them of two of their leading scorers in a 73-56 loss to James Madison University in Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) action on Friday night in Virginia.
When Hofstra’s starting lineup was announced just before tip-off, it was revealed that the Pride would be without Ashunae Durant due to a nagging knee injury that had hampered the All-CAA first teamer for much of the year.
Durant is averaging just under 12 points and nine rebounds this season, both team-high totals. In her absence, Hofstra head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey opted to insert transfer forward Mikiyah Croskey into the starting lineup.
Croskey would go on to score a career-high 18 points and pull down six rebounds, good production for a first-time starter filling in for one of the best post players in the CAA.
But just three minutes into the game, Aleana Leon went down with an injury, and was unable to return to the game. Leon’s presence on both ends of the floor would be dearly missed, as Kilburn-Steveskey was forced to go deep into her bench to try and make up for the loss of one of her senior leaders.
Playing short-handed, the Pride fought valiantly in the first half against the Dukes, who came in to Friday’s contest undefeated in CAA competition. While never leading, Hofstra was able to keep the deficit from growing too large, and even found themselves down by just two after a short 8-0 run midway through the second quarter.
This run was led by a couple of three-pointers from Boogie Brozoski and Olivia Askin, cutting the Dukes’ lead to 28-26 at the five-minute mark of the second quarter. This was as close as it was going to get for the Pride however, as James Madison was able to counter with a run of their own heading into halftime, leading 37-28 at the break.
It was more of the same coming out of halftime, as the Dukes displayed why they’re very likely going to be the team to beat this season in the CAA. The lead kept growing, up to as many as 25 points in the fourth quarter, before Hofstra managed to finish strong and cut JMU’s advantage to 13 as the final buzzer sounded.
Brozoski finished with 10 points and eight assists for the Pride, who dropped to 10-10 and 4-5 in the CAA.