The Hofstra Women’s Basketball team staged a dramatic second half comeback but fell short in a tough game against conference-leading James Madison, 77-68 at the Mack Sports Complex.
The Pride had their work cut out for them facing JMU, a team that had won nine straight games entering the contest and was unbeaten in CAA conference play.
The first half was all James Madison. The Dukes moved the ball extremely well and Hofstra quickly fell into early foul trouble. JMU went on a 24-2 run that turned a 14-12 lead into a commanding 36-14 deficit for the Pride.
Hofstra was unable to get their offense in gear and shot just 20.5 percent from the floor during the first half, making just 8-of-39 shots. JMU also outrebounded Hofstra in the first half by a 27-18 margin and kept Elo Edeferioka from establishing any kind of offense inside the paint.
By halftime, Hofstra trailed 44-20 and was being badly outplayed in all facets of the game.
Down 24 at the half, the Pride showed resolve and determination as they gradually reduced the deficit and got back in the game.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about how proud I am of the group for their effort in the second half,” Head Coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey said after the game. “We got tested and we had a choice of how we were going to come out and I was very proud of how they competed in the second half.”
They key to the second half rally was Kelly Loftus who had a career-best 30 points in the game. The 5’10” sophomore made six three-point shots in the second half and also made 10-of-12 free throw attempts in the game.
“I’m just really competitive,” Loftus said. “I just want to see our team win. I saw we were down 20 so I just tried to rally and my teammates found me at the right time.”
The Pride slowly began to chip away at the James Madison lead. Five minutes into the second half, it was down to 20 points. With eight minutes left in the game, the lead was down to 15 points at 66-51.
Then, Hofstra went on a 15-4 run over the next six minutes to make it a 70-66 game with 2:15 left on the clock. Coach Kilburn-Steveskey called that run the best sustained basketball the team has played this season. “When they put their minds to it, this is the product that we can have,” she added.
In the final few minutes, the Pride took the court with four players in their lineup who already had four fouls. Free throws by Precious Hall, who led James Madison with 23 points and added nine rebounds, helped seal the victory for the visitors. Angela Mickens also had 11 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists for James Madison.
Despite being limited to just six points, Edeferioka led Hofstra with 15 rebounds. Darius Faulk also added 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Pride.
Although they faced a large deficit against the top team in the conference, the Pride did not quit and managed to make this a close game in the final minutes.
“We’re just going to use this as momentum,” Loftus said. “Even though we didn’t get the win, we played with a lot of heart. We we’re going to take this and we’re going to get them back.”
Hofstra returns to action Sunday when they host William & Mary at 1 pm at the Mack Sports Center. William & Mary edged the Pride 57-56 in their first meeting of the season.
The Pride was without Ashunae Durant who is nursing an ankle injury.
The win was the 300th career victory for JMU Head Coach Kenny Brooks.
For more information on the Hofstra University Women’s Basketball team fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here: