By John Napolitano — STAFF WRITER
Hofstra women’s basketball held off Holy Cross 69-63 as Ashunae Durant, Aleana Leon and Olivia Askin put up double digits in a quarter-to-quarter battle on Tuesday in Hempstead.
The Pride’s second win of the season looked to slip closer and closer out of reach, as the Holy Cross Crusaders went on a 15-0 run in the fourth frame, but resilience and timely shooting proved powerful for Hofstra.
“I was just really proud. They talked; they worked together and took care of business against a really good team,” said head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey.
Working together and sharing the wealth was the likely difference-maker in this game and in snapping a two-game losing streak. Durant put up 15 points, while Leon and Askin matched each other with respective 14-point nights. The Pride is 2-1 this season when three players score in double digits.
“I give credit to my point guards and my teammates, honestly, just finding me at the right time. Our offense was just flowing a lot better today. It felt nice out on the court,” said Askin who finished 5-8 from the field (4-7 from three-point range).
While Askin carried the Pride from beyond the arc, Durant showed her continued prowess down low. Durant tallied eight rebounds and drew five fouls, going 9-10 from the charity stripe. The 5’10” senior leads all Pride scorers, averaging 15 points per game.
Holy Cross came out of the starting block hot, setting up three different three-point leads, but a late first-quarter 7-0 run allowed Hofstra to reclaim the lead 19-15 heading into the second quarter. After the Crusaders opened up the second with a layup, a Marianne Kalin two-point play and a Leon three-pointer gave the Pride it largest lead of the game, 24-17. Leon has 39 points this season, 18 from downtown.
“[Coach] always tells me it doesn’t matter if you make a mistake or whatever happens. Keep playing. That’s what you can bring to the team – that energy,” said Leon.
The third quarter saw Holy Cross climb back into the game twice, tying the contest 42-42 before a 9-1 Hofstra run that put the Pride in the lead 51-43. This run extended into the final quarter, where Hofstra opened the floodgates, 59-45, before the Crusaders marched on to their impressive 15-0 streak to take the lead 60-59.
The final minutes of play saw an exchange of free throws from both teams and an emphatic three-pointer from Askin.
The Pride is next in action on Saturday, when they travel to Las Vegas to take on the Lady Rebels of UNLV in the Lady Rebel Round-Up Semifinals. Tipoff is slated for 3 p.m. (ET).