The Hofstra Women’s Basketball team put forth a strong effort but lost to James Madison in the battle for first place in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), 71-54.
In the end, James Madison had too many rebounds, too many second-chance opportunities and too much Jazmon Gwathmey. The 6’2″ senior finished with 34 points and 13 rebounds and her strong play down the stretch put the game out of reach.
Ashunae Durant led Hofstra with 20 points while Kelly Loftus added 11 for the home team which was able to stay close for the first 30 minutes, but couldn’t stay with James Madison down the stretch. The Dukes held the Pride to just seven points in the fourth quarter and took command for good.
“It certainly wasn’t the outcome we wanted tonight,” Hofstra Head Coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey admitted. “I have to give JMU credit for coming in here and putting 40 minutes together. I thought we had some good moments but it wasn’t enough.”
The Pride kept things close in the first two quarters, mostly on the strength of their defense and free throw shooting. James Madison never led by more than seven points in the first half and there were six lead changes as the teams waged a physical battle every trip down the court.
After Durant hit a pair of free throws and Anjie White connected on a jump shot with 15 seconds left in the second quarter, the Pride went into the locker room trailing just 34-32 at the half.
James Madison was able to get offense from Angela Mickens who finished the first half with 14 points and ended up with 20 points for the game. Hofstra had to make adjustments and that helped open things up for Gwathmey to score 20 points in the final 20 minutes.
Hofstra continued to play JMU evenly through the first half of the third quarter and trailed 42-41 before at the halfway mark before the Dukes finished the quarter on a 14-6 run. Gwathmey had eight of the 14 points for James Madison.
In the fourth quarter, the visiting team slowed the pace a bit and only allowed Hofstra to score four points from the floor and seven altogether.
James Madison’s strong play on the boards was a key. They outrebounded Hofstra 43-32 for the game including 15-7 on the offensive glass.
“Those were like daggers those second-chance opportunities,” Kilburn-Steveskey admitted. “We knew what we had to do. There had to be a sense of urgency, we had to be pointed and we didn’t do it.”
Still, the coach was pleased with the fight her team showed and the way they never let down. “We know we have a lot more basketball to get us to March,” she added.
The Pride returns to action Sunday afternoon as they start a three-game road trip when they visit Towson. Tip-off is at 1:00 pm.
The Pride wore pink uniforms as part of their “Think Pink” celebration to raise awareness for breast cancer research.
It was Scout Night at Mack Sports Complex with an enthusiastic crowd of scouts from around Long Island in attendance.
Hofstra’s next home game will be Friday, February 19th against UNCW.
For more information on the Hofstra Women’s Basketball team fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here: