The Hofstra Pride women’s basketball took another hard-fought loss on Sunday afternoon, this time at the hands of the Drexel Dragons by a score of 65-43. The defeat marks the Pride’s third straight as well as its sixth in the last seven games.
Hofstra came into the game with a tough assignment: defeat a top-notch offensive team on the road while still trying to recover from a home overtime loss to the Colonial Athletic Association’s last place squad, UNC-Wilmington. The Pride had to contain a number of offensive threats for the Dragons while still finding a way to score in bunches without sharpshooter Ana Hernandez Gil, who is still out with an injury.
The task proved to be a difficult one, as the Pride couldn’t keep the lead to within single digits past the midway point of the second quarter. When that happened, turnovers started to clump together in bunches as the Pride simply couldn’t put together a clean possession without a pass being tipped.
The Drexel Dragons, who are also a highly ranked defensive team, forced a season-high 28 turnovers in the team’s previous outing against the College of Charleston. The Dragons nearly matched that total against the Pride with 23.
“They were very soft at times with the ball,” Hofstra head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey said of the ball handling. “Out of those 23 [Hofstra] turnovers, 10 were just handing the ball over. Everyone who comes in is having a turnover or two so you can’t do that against a team like this. You can’t do it against anybody but you can’t do it against Drexel, who is very offensively efficient.”
Drexel played a very slow, methodical and efficient offense that worked better as the game wore on. As the Dragons’ lead started to grow, the Pride became more susceptible to turnovers and rushed plays on offense. That allowed Drexel’s defensive stalwarts like Kelsi Lidge to thrive. Lidge collected six steals and five rebounds in the contest.
Meanwhile, the high amount of pressure applied by the Dragons’ defense prevented the Pride from getting the ball inside the paint to Hofstra’s leading scorer Ashunae Durant. The forward tallied 17 points and 17 rebounds the last time Hofstra played the Dragons, but earned just eight points on 3-for-12 shooting this time around.
Krystal Luciano was the only Pride player to land in double figures. She had 19 points on 7-for-17 shooting from the floor. With her performance, she recorded her fourth straight game with double-digit scoring for the first time this season.
However, Kilburn-Steveskey was looking for more from her team offensively.
“[Luciano] can’t do it by herself,” Kilburn-Steveskey said. “And she hasn’t been. Obviously in the last few games it’s been that way. I mean you have [Sydni Epps] who’s just killing it everywhere up and down the floor trying to help us. And although Aleana [Leon] was trying to get back in her groove it’s just [about] getting more consistent with her shot.”
Hofstra is still trying to find some answers off the bench. Hofstra got just seven points on 2-for-12 shooting from players who came off the bench after getting two bench points in the loss to UNCW.
“We’re playing where certain players need to accept their roles,” Kilburn-Steveskey said. “We were looking to someone besides Krystal [Luciano] tonight to score. Everybody was just passing up shots and we have players who have got to be more pointed and take care of their shots. We’ve got to keep shooting.”
Hofstra has a tough path forward. The team’s next game is on the road against Charleston on Friday, followed by a pair of home games against the conference’s top squads in Elon and James Madison. The Pride will look to break its recent skid in those outings.
“Until we take ownership of where we are and stop pointing fingers, you know we’re not the same team that we were last year,” Kilburn-Steveskey said. “We don’t have that kind of depth but we have a lot of really good players in this program. We can’t be sitting here and taking blame. I’ll take all the hits and the blame, but we need to empower each other.”