By Rob Pelaez — STAFF WRITER
Coming off a junior season averaging 16 points and over 10 rebounds per game, Ashunae Durant set the bar high for her senior season with the Pride, and she delivered big-time with a 71-55 thumping of the University of Maryland Baltimore County Retrievers.
Durant led the CAA with 16 double-doubles in 2016, and she continued her quest for more this year with an 18-point, 13-rebound performance Sunday afternoon in Hempstead.
After consistent lead changes throughout the first two quarters, the Pride ending up pulling away thanks to big efforts from others such as sophomore guards Sandra Karsten and E’Lexus Davis, who contributed a combined 31 points.
This year kicked off with the Pride’s display of the young crop of talent that is now on their roster.
There are three starting senior guards Olivia Askin (eight points), Aleana Leon (eight points and nine rebounds) and Durant; most other guards on the team are sophomores.
The Pride played a consistent and more complete game in the second half of play outscoring the Retrievers 37-22.
One aspect of the game that eventually led Hofstra to victory was the Pride outscoring UMBC 14-0 on fast break opportunities.
Durant now begins her quest for 1,000 career rebounds and 1,500 career points to put a bow on nothing short of a marvelous college career. She currently sits at 832 rebounds all-time, and at the pace she is going and her increasing role in the offense, is more than well within her range of achieving these goals.
Leon, who began the opener cold shooting 0-4 in the first half, knocked down three buckets on four attempts in the second half.
Karsten was also a huge lift for the Pride off the bench, going 4-5 from long range with silky smooth shooting in the second half of action.
Karsten as well as Davis did an exceptional job of taking the defense away from Durant and hitting open shots consistently.
Davis, a sophomore from Maryland, was one of the first to score on the late 15-0 run to push Hofstra in front 69-51 with under a minute to go in the fourth quarter.
The trend of big performances from sophomores continued with Marianne Kalin coming in with a career-high three blocks.
Next up for the Pride is a showdown with Long Island rival Stony Brook University on Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Mack Sports Complex.