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Hofstra Women Stumble in Season Opener

Elo Edeferioka. Photo by: Stacy Podelski/ 1495 Sports

Elo Edeferioka. Photo by: Stacy Podelski/ 1495 Sports

The Hofstra Women’s Basketball team (0-1) opened its season with a disappointing 71-66 overtime loss to Central Connecticut (1-0) in NCAA Women’s Basketball action on 11/14/14.

The Pride was led by Elo Edeferioka (Warri, Nigeria) who had a career-best 22 points and 13 rebounds. Unfortunately, Hofstra shot only 37.3 percent as a team including a disappointing 3-for-20 from three-point range.

“It was a major disappointment not to protect our home in our home opener, coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey said after the game. “We should have taken care of business on our home floor tonight.”

Hofstra seemed energized by an enthusiastic crowd and jumped out to an early 8-2 lead in the first 3:07 of the contest. But Central Connecticut bounced back and went on a 12-4 run, led by Kaley Watras who finished the game with 16 points to lead the Blue Devils.

Central Connecticut led 32-30 at halftime on the strength of their outside shooting. The Blue Devils finished the first half 6-of-12 from behind the three-point stripe paced by Camden Musgrave who went 3-for-6 from three-point land.

“We didn’t make adjustments,” Kilburn-Steveskey added. “We played very tentative in the first half. It was a bit surprising.”

Hofstra started the second half strong and took a 40-36 lead after Dee Tomas-Palmer (Philadelphia, PA)  hit a layup with 14:39 left, but Central Connecticut went on a 9-2 run over the next three minutes to retake the lead 45-42.

The Pride battled hard to stay in the game late and managed to take a 55-52 lead on a layup by Ashunae Durant (Newark, NJ)  with a little more than 5:00 left, but the offense went dry after that and Hofstra couldn’t hold the lead.

Things went back and forth and both teams had a chance to win in the final seconds. Krystal Luciano (San Juan, Puerto Rico), who tied her career-best with nine rebounds, saw her layup hit the inside of the rim and bounce out with 17 seconds left in the second half and then saw another chance narrowly miss. In between, Kayla Miller missed a pair of free throw attempts that could have put CCSU ahead with just 11 seconds left on the clock. After 40 minutes, the two teams were tied 55-55.

In overtime, Central Connecticut took control early, breaking to a 66-59 lead halfway through the extra session. The Pride gradually drew closer and made it a one-possession game when Edeferioka scored from in close to make it 67-64 in the final 31 seconds. Miller missed a pair of free throws and Edeferioka scored again with 1.1 seconds left to make it a 67-66 game.

CCSU hit their free throws in the final 0.1 seconds to provide them with the final 71-67 margin.

After the game, the players were disappointed with the outcome of their season opener. “I don’t feel good at all,” Edeferioka said. “I feel like we should have won the game. Losing to the same team for the second time [the first was last season], I’m not happy about that. The points and the rebounds, it doesn’t really count right now since we didn’t get to our goal of winning the game.”

“We’ve got to play better and we’ve got to play tougher,” Kilburn-Steveskey said.

The Pride return to action Tuesday night when they host Fairfield. Tip-off is at 7 pm at the Mack Sports Center.

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