The Hofstra women’s basketball team’s championship aspirations were shut down Thursday afternoon after losing to Elon University by a 78-50 score in the CAA quarterfinals.
Hofstra, who had just came off a victory against ninth-seeded Towson in the first round of the tournament on Wednesday, were hard-pressed to put a stop to the Phoenix’s potent attack.
In Elon’s first appearance of the tournament, the Phoenix was able to quickly display the talent that earned the team the first seed heading in to the contest.
Only taking about one quarter to fully lock in, the Phoenix truly gained separation from Hofstra in the second quarter turning a five-point lead to 19 in the quarter’s 10 minutes of play.
“We’ve played them enough to know how they come out, and they usually come out all over you. I think the second quarter, that’s what started that and we didn’t respond,” said Hofstra head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey.
Ranking second in the conference in scoring defense, the Phoenix proved once again how valuable a suffocating defense can be. The five point margin that extended to 19 at the half was in large part due to an increase in intensity from Elon on this side of the ball.
The effect this had on Hofstra’s offense showed itself in the all-around shooting game displayed in the final stats. The Pride finished the game with just 29 percent shooting from the field to go along with 27 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Though Hofstra was able to respond to Elon’s constant attack on many occasions, the Phoenix seemed to never stop pushing, constantly extending the lead with a highly efficient shooting night.
For instance, when Olivia Askin’s three-pointer broke into the Phoenix’s 6-0 run, followed by Aleana Leon’s converted jumper, the Pride was finally able to shorten the Phoenix lead to single digits at 24-15. Shortly after this spark from the Pride offense, Elon took control of the game once again and went on a 15-5 run enabling the Phoenix to cruise into the half with a 39-20 lead.
The lack of production from the Pride came partly as a result from the early foul trouble from Hofstra’s leading scorer Ashunae Durant. Durant, who is also the third leading scorer in the CAA, finished the half with just two points in a limited role to keep from fouling out after picking up three early fouls.
With three minutes left to play in the final quarter, Durant was forced to leave the game as she picked up her fifth foul, finishing the game with an uncharacteristic five points.
With a limited Durant, the Pride struggled to garner anything offensively for the majority of the game. Starting point guard Krystal Luciano also struggled and finished with just five points, after scoring 18 the prior round.
The only player to reach double digits for Hofstra happened to be Aleana Leon. Leon connected on eight of her 15 shots, finishing the game with 22 points as the lone bright spot in an otherwise underwhelming performance for the Pride.
The victory extended the Phoenix’s win streak to six games as they head into the CAA semifinals to take on William & Mary.
Meanwhile, Krystal Luciano, Sydni Epps, and Sandra Dongmo all played their last games in a Hofstra uniform as the Pride’s season comes to a close in a tough defeat.