Sports Center Saturday afternoon. It was the second straight victory for the Pride who improved their season record to 4-3.
Anma Onyeuku (Fayetteville, GA) led the Pride with 21 points while both Ruth Sherrill (Alexandria, VA) and Krystal Luciano (San Juan, Puerto Rico) had nine rebounds. Andreana Thomas (West Haven, CT) added 11 points and six assists for the Pride. Alyson Doherty led UC-Davis with 24 points.
UC-Davis is known as a good three-point shooting team but the Hofstra defense limited them to just 2-0f-30 from behind the arc. In fact, the Pride’s defense kept the Aggies off balance for most of the game.
“We definitely put some good defensive pressure on them that caused them to not shoot as well as they wanted to,” Hofstra coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey said. “I was hoping we could put a lot of pressure on their guards and slow them down. We were just covering the arc. Our total emphasis all week was to stop the three ball.”
The players executed that strategy very well. In the first half, UC-Davis scored just 20 points and was 0-for-11 from three-point range. Overall, they shot just 30.8 percent.
Good defense by UC-Davis kept the score close in the early going until Hofstra closed the half on an 10-3 run that included some strong play by Luciano, Sherrill and Onyeuku. Each of them hit clutch baskets in the closing minutes of the half to help the Pride take a seven-point lead into intermission.
In the second half, the Pride outscored the Aggies 49-37. The Hofstra offense began to click after making some adjustments at halftime. The Pride shot 57.7 percent from the floor in the second half.
“In the first half, there was a bit of frustration because we couldn’t get our offensive looks that we usually get. So at halftime we talked about that and just made sure we were focused on every offensive possession,” Onyeuku explained.
In addition, Thomas helped open things up by using her speed to drive the line and create open shots for her teammates.
“Not a lot of people play us in man and they decided to play us in a match-up man and a match-up zone,” Thomas explained. “That allowed me to penetrate more and see my teammates. They put a lot of pressure on me but I love it because my speed allows me to just go by people.”
“I thought Dre [Andreana Thomas] was making reads on the floor,” Coach Kilburn-Staveskey said. “She’s really good at telling A.O. [Oneyuku] what she sees. They are kindred spirits. She makes good moves and A.O. knows just when to cut. That stuff is going to pay off in the long run.”
UC-Davis cut the Hofstra lead to just three points with 10:55 left in the second half but Luciano hit a key three-point shot and the Pride went on a 17-2 run over the next 4:41 to put the game out of reach for the Aggies.
“Proud of our total team effort tonight against a really good UC-Davis team,” coach Kilburn-Steveskey said. “It was a great team win.”
Hofstra returns to action Tuesday, December 10 when they travel to Saint Josephs. Game time is 7:00 PM.