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Offensive struggles sink Hofstra in clash with Drexel

By Anders Jorstad -- STAFF WRITER The Hofstra Pride women’s basketball team couldn’t get it going offensively in the team’s conference road opener on Sunday, falling to the Drexel University Dragons 47-38.

When the Pride meet the Dragons, the games tend to be low-scoring affairs. Neither team has scored 70 points in a matchup between the two schools since the Pride defeated the Dragons 76-65 in a 2012 contest. Even with that precedent, this New Year’s Eve game was weak offensively for both sides.

The Pride struggled to get points on the board in the first half, netting just 12 points in the first 20 minutes of the game. Tough interior defense forced Hofstra to attempt a high number of long jumpers and three-pointers. In fact, 62 percent of the shots the Pride took in the first half were from downtown. Hofstra drained just one of them.

“A lot of those threes were at the end of the shot clock,” explained Hofstra head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey. “We were not attacking toward the basket, we were attacking from sideline to sideline. But it wasn’t like we were coming up and just slinging up threes.”

The Pride offense improved in the second half as the team found its stroke from downtown and held onto the basketball -- Hofstra had 10 first half turnovers and just three in the second half. Hofstra distributed the ball and played unselfish basketball, finding multiple ways to attack Drexel’s stingy defense.

But the Pride couldn’t hold Drexel off the glass as Drexel secured 11 offensive boards. Those second chances allowed the Dragons to cruise to an easy victory.

Hofstra has had some good showings against a pair of top teams in the Colonial Athletic Association in James Madison and Drexel to open up conference play. Kilburn-Steveskey understands the challenges those teams present, but is still optimistic about the team’s play thus far.

“You know, two games in a row here against where you have the two top teams in our conference and you hold [James Madison] to 55 [points] on Friday night, and you hold a powerful scoring [Drexel] team that just scored 74 points against Delaware to 47 and you tell me that we didn’t win those two games, I think that’s the frustration here,” Kilburn-Steveskey said. “It’s just disappointing that we couldn’t get our offensive mojo together. “

The Pride are now 0-2 in the CAA and will look to find that offensive rhythm as the team continues its three-game road swing. Hofstra’s next opponent is the College of Charleston Cougars, who Hofstra will square off against on Friday.

“This is the way that conference [play] is,” Kilburn-Steveskey said. “People might be scoring in the 70s [in the non-conference] and then they come to conference and the first game they get, they only score 55 points. Everybody knows everybody. We’ve got to make shots with contact, we’ve got to be more mentally focused and we still need to go through our post a lot more.”

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