Ashunae Durant permanently etched her name into the Hofstra women’s basketball history books on Sunday afternoon, scoring her 1,000th point as part of a 17 point, 12 rebound performance in the Pride’s 64-53 loss to Elon at the Mack Sports Complex.
“We’re just trying to get over the hump and find out who we are,” said Hofstra head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey after the loss.
Durant, who has been terrorizing opposing defenses with her post moves since arriving as a freshman two years ago, scored point number 1,000 at the free-throw line, where she hit seven of her eight attempts.
“[I’m] very proud of her,” Kilburn-Steveskey said. “It says a lot about what she’s done and what she’s accomplished.”
Sophomore Aleana Leon, coming off the bench for the first time this season, led the team with a career-high 19 points, 16 of them coming in the second half. Leon was also active on the defensive end, with three steals.
“She’s such a sparkplug,” Kilburn-Steveskey said.
Unfortunately for the Pride, Leon and Durant were really the only two players who were able to get it in gear offensively for the Pride.
Hofstra came out of the gate with its worst offensive performances of the season, shooting just 6.3 percent from the field in the first quarter.
After Durant opened the game with a layup to give the Pride an early 2-0 edge, her and the rest of the team went ice-cold from the floor. The next Hofstra field goal wouldn’t occur until there was just 3:10 left in the second quarter, almost sixteen minutes later.
During this stretch, the CAA-leading Phoenix used a very balanced attack to build its lead. After one quarter, Elon led 19-3, and the Phoenix led 29-11 at halftime, easily the Pride’s weakest first half of the year.
While improving on abysmal first-quarter numbers, Hofstra still was extremely ineffective on offense, shooting just 10 percent from the floor, and going 0-10 from three-point land. Five of Hofstra’s 11 points came at the charity stripe.
But rather than call it a day and mail in the second half, the Pride came out looking much better, cutting down on costly turnovers (11 in the first half) while finally getting some shots to fall.
Part of this was the emergence of Leon, who knocked down Hofstra’s first three-pointer halfway through the third quarter, a shot that sparked the sputtering Pride offense. In total, the Pride scored more points (16) in the third quarter than the team had all through the first half.
But for every bucket that Hofstra would score, the Phoenix had an answer. While the Pride was able to cut the lead to 11 with time dwindling, it was never enough to threaten Elon, who improved to a conference-best 8-1 in the CAA.
Hofstra fell to 1-7 in the CAA, 8-11 overall. The loss was Hofstra’s fifth in a row, and with perennial power James Madison rolling into town next, followed by back-to-back games with William & Mary, the road ahead certainly isn’t getting any easier for the Pride.
Hofstra will square off with the Dukes on Friday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Mack Sports Complex.