By Anders Jorstad — STAFF WRITER
The Hofstra Pride women’s basketball team had its most complete contest of the year in a 68-43 drubbing of the Iona Gaels on the road Thursday night.
With Iona coming into the game sporting an 0-6 record on the season, it was a good opportunity for Hofstra to earn a confidence-building win coming off a heartbreaking loss to Siena at home the game before.
Hofstra came out of the gates guns-a-blazin’, dumping the ball to Ashunae Durant and Marianne Kalin in the paint and firing three-point shots in transition. The Pride had a 13-4 lead by the first timeout and never led by fewer than seven points after that.
By halftime the game was already a blowout with the Pride up 39-18. Iona started to shift around its lineup and defensive strategy to try to disrupt the Pride’s rhythm.
The Gaels used full-court presses, double teams, various zone defenses, and adjusted personnel throughout the game. Nothing Iona did was successful at slowing down the Pride attack.
In the end, Hofstra glided to an easy victory. Kalin had career highs in points (25) and rebounds (11), the sophomore’s first collegiate double-double.
“We were certainly hoping [Kalin would have a game like this],” said Pride head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey. “The game plan was to pound the ball inside between her and [Durant]. But she was 5-for-6 at halftime, so you know, keep going to the well until the well runs dry. We just wanted to play an inside-out game.”
Olivia Askin also continued her hot stretch and has now scored a combined 48 points in her last three games, the best trio of games in the senior’s career. She’s also shooting 38 percent from long range, another high-water mark for her career if she can sustain it.
“When you’re going inside, Marianne is such a good passer,” said Kilburn-Steveskey.
“When you double down and collapse on her, she does such a good job at finding the open shooter. For [Askin] to go 11-for-14, it’s just a great accomplishment because we’re always urging for her to shoot the ball more. She’s very unselfish, sometimes to a fault. So for her to find success, we felt like that was a good thing.”
The win over Iona pushes Hofstra to 5-4 on the season. The Pride will look to carry their positive momentum into a road matchup with Columbia on the road on Monday before the team finishes up its non-conference slate at home against St. Bonaventure.
“How these guys are playing with a very short bench, I’m proud of them,” said Kilburn-Steveskey. “I’m not going to give any excuses at all. Hopefully as we continue to add pieces to our puzzle here we can continue getting better and better.”