The Hofstra women’s basketball team got balanced scoring and a tenacious team defensive performance to beat visiting Northeastern 63-58 at the Mack Sports Center Thursday.
Annie Payton (Camden, NJ) led the Pride with 12 points while Anma Onyeuku (Fayetteville, GA) added 11 more despite playing only 18 minutes in the game due to foul trouble.
“It’s just awesome to get a win, get back on the winning track and do it at home,” said coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey after the game. “They had a mindset, they had the will to win…It was their effort and how hard they play.”
The defense was very effective, holding Northeastern to just 37.3 percent shooting for the game and only 29.2 percent in the first half. The Pride also forced 17 turnovers and had 10 steals including four by Asia Jackson (Peekskill, NY).
The ladies also did a very good job of containing Jewel Turnstull, who shot just 6-of-17 from the floor in the game despite scoring 22 points. The Pride defense trapped and got physical with Turnstull and made her earn every inch of the court.
“It took a several man team because of the foul situation. E (Elo Edeferioka) started the charge Ruth Sherrill did a phenomenal job for a lot of minutes while Anya had to sit,” said Kilburn-Steveskey. “When you have nights where everybody is really talented and all embracing their role, it was a good three-man punch against her.”
It was a great bounce back performance by the Pride after their disappointing performance against Charleston last Sunday.
“After Sunday’s game, we had a talk,” Onyeuku said. “We all basically came together and told each other we need to play better. In every practice before this game, we were going hard on every drill and bringing energy so it would transfer onto the court and that’s what we did tonight.”
Both teams started off slowly offensively in the first half and the game was tied 11-11 midway through the opening 20 minutes. Hofstra trailed 21-15 with 4:18 left in the half before finishing on an 9-2 run to lead 24-23 at the break.
The Pride never relinquished the lead in the second half although Northeastern did even the score at 34-34 after 4:39 of play after intermission. Hofstra then went on a 10-2 run to take the lead for good and never looked back.
One area that Hofstra dominated was the boards. They had 15 offensive rebounds to just five for Northeastern and scored 13 second-chance points to just two for the visitors.
The Pride also had 14 points off of fast breaks compared to only two for Northeastern.
This inspiring win improved Hofstra’s record to 11-12 on the season and 6-6 in the Colonial Athletic Association.
The Pride returns to action Sunday afternoon when they travel to James Madison to play the first place Dukes who have an 11-0 conference record.
“We’re ready,” coach Kilburn-Steveskey said without hesitation. “We know we have to play a really good basketball game. We need to play a strong, physical game and rebound against them, they’re big in each spot. We need to be tactical against them and hit those boards hard. It’s a fun game.”