The Hofstra University women’s basketball team had a lot to celebrate Friday night. They overcame a 15-point deficit midway through the first half to down Ole Miss 72-63. The win snapped a seven game losing streak for the Pride.
“It was a big sigh of relief, finally,” admitted Coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey after the game. “It was nice for them [the players] to get something that can lead them to believe how good we can be.”
Three players scored in double figures for Hofstra. Shante Evans led the way with 21 points, Anma Onyeuku added 18 and Asia Jackson had a strong second half to finish with 11 points on the night.
Mississippi had a decided size advantage and came out strong early, building a 22-7 lead with 10:49 left in the first half.
“We were just missing shots and we have been through that in spurts. This was like another little test. We’ve had a lot of adversity,” Coach Kilburn-Steveskey added. “We never bury anything around here, we’re fighters and to overcome those odds, I’m proud of them.”
The Pride began their comeback late in the first half and they evened the score with less than 2:00 left in the half at 26-26 after going on a 19-4 run.
Hofstra started by getting the ball in to Evans in the paint and then started playing off of that to hit the open player when the Rebels defense started keying on Evans.
“I’ve worked hard the past couple of weeks at just making my shots,” Evans explained. “It shows. When I play good, my team follows so that was my motivation.”
At halftime, Ole Miss held a slim 30-28 lead but the momentum had clearly shifted in Hofstra’s favor and the Pride’s confidence was growing.
In the second half, Hofstra found their outside shooting game led by Asia Jackson’s pair of three-pointers. That opened up the inside game with Onyeuku making some great layups off passes from Andreana Thomas who led the Pride with 10 assists.
Despite facing a bigger Ole Miss team, the Pride out-rebounded the Rebels 49-45. They did that predominantly with hustle and determination. Evans led all players with 16 rebounds while Candace Bond had seven offensive boards to give the Pride second and third chances when needed.
“We’re mobile rebounders right now,” Coach Kilburn-Steveskey added. “This was a big deal. This team [Ole Miss] rebounds very well and we beat them and that’s just really hustling and really going after those 50-50s. Candice Bond was a big part of that. She just went after it and didn’t stand around.”
The Pride took the lead for good with when Jackson hit a three-point shot with 10:43 left in the second half to give Hofstra a 47-46 lead. They expanded the led to 13 points four minutes later and never looked back.
Evans had a big week, graduating from Hofstra on Thursday. She is the first in her family to earn a college degree.
Hofstra returns to action Sunday afternoon when they host Northwestern at 1:00 PM.
1495 Sports TV:
1495 Sports Photo Gallery: