By Jordan Sawyer -- STAFF WRITER Free throws appeared to be the taxing difference in the Hofstra women’s basketball 58-51 loss to the Fightin’ Blue Hens of Delaware on Friday night at the Mack Sports Complex.
“I thought we were on cylinder, we kept them off balance, we just didn’t get enough scoring punches,” said Hofstra head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey.
The Pride unfortunately missed 10 total free throws as they shot an underwhelming 56 percent from the charity stripe.
“We’re not focusing on our free throws, that’s mental toughness and concentration, we got 13-23 (made/attempted) in our own house. It’s bizarre,” Kilburn-Steveskey said.
Hofstra started off strong behind the hot hand of Olivia Askin who drained two three-pointers within the first six minutes of action as she would finish the first quarter as the game’s leading scorer while Hofstra held a 17-11 lead.
The second quarter played similar feat to the first as the Pride lockjaw defense masked a lackluster shooting performance from the field.
Askin remained tied for the game’s leading scorer with a pair of Delaware bucket-droppers, Abby Gonzales and Bailey Kargo.
Gonzales’ scrappy defensive turned into offense for the Fightiin’ Blue Hens as she took no mercy on reigning CAA Player of the Week Boogie Brozoski, who was held to four points and two rebounds at the half.
However, Hofstra remained ahead 30-27 as the two teams traveled to itslocker rooms. The Pride shot an uncharacteristic 42.9 percent from the field but tight defense held Delaware to 36.4 percent on the other end.
The Pride’s shooting woes only worsened in the third quarter as the Hens clucked its way to a 17-9 scoring run behind 10 second-chance points to earn a 44-39 lead heading into the fourth and final quarter. Hofstra shot a measly 3-14 from the field in the third and missed a differential five free throws.
“We did a lot of things right and then just had a costly third quarter,” Kilburn-Steveskey said.
Delaware rode its hot streak into the fourth quarter and found themselves up by nine points with 5:37 left in regulation. E’Lexus Davis and Ashunae Durant attempted to roar back the Pride but any hopes of a comeback were squandered by time.
“It felt like the last two minutes we were trying to attack the basketball and we were really just going east-west not north-south,” Kilburn-Steveskey said.
The Fightin’ Blue Hens outscored the Pride 31-21 in the second half to rid Hofstra’s three-point first half lead.
Hofstra finished with a 29.3 field goal percentage to accompany its 56.5 free throw percentage (8-10 in the fourth quarter).
Ashunae Durant finished with yet another double-double after pairing 12 points with 14 rebounds. Boogie Brozoski tallied 10 total points as the only other double-digit scorer for the Pride.