By Rob Pelaez — STAFF WRITER
The women’s basketball teams of Hofstra and Sacred Heart certainly gave the fans their money’s worth on Thursday night, after the Pride squeaked out an 86-81 win in double-overtime.
Hofstra was led by senior star Ashunae Durant, who recorded her second double-double on the short season. Coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey was nothing but smiles for the post-game interview, but still addressed the aspects that her squad must fix going forward this year.
“We were having a hard time defending tonight,” Kilburn-Steveskey said. “You knew it was going to be a battle but didn’t quite expect it to go down like this, but [I’m] just proud of the fight and the character of our kids hanging in there. It was tough.”
A classic back-and-forth matchup between two 3-3 teams exhibited seven lead changes and six occasions on which the score was tied, which displayed how evenly-matched the teams were.
Senior Aleana Leon got in on the double-double action, notching the second of her career with a 12-point and 12-rebound game of her own. Hofstra’s main source of scoring came from beyond the arc and mid-range as the team went 6-18 (33.3 percent) from downtown and a total of 34-78 (43.5 percent) from the field – a season high in shot attempts for the team.
E’Lexus Davis also poured in a career-high 19 points en route to the Pride’s fourth victory of the year. “She was just constantly going to work, and I’m really, really proud of her,” Kilburn-Steveskey said regarding the play of Davis. “It was just such a total team effort and with [Petja Krupenko]’s shots early on, you think about every bucket … [Olivia Askin] had key buckets as well.”
Sacred Heart outscored the Pride in most aspects of the game, except for second-chance points which the Pride won 12-5. The play of Durant and Leon down low helped seal the deal for Hofstra toward the end of the battle: the duo combined for a total of 35 points and 24 rebounds. The last time a pair of Hofstra women were both in double figures was Feb. 20 against Charleston this past season, when Durant finished with 25 points and 13 rebounds and Krystal Luciano posted 20 points and 10 assists.
After a trip to Las Vegas and then Connecticut, the Pride now have time to get their feet settled back on the island. Hofstra is just four games away from beginning their CAA play, starting with conference favorite James Madison on Dec. 29.