Hempstead, N.Y. - Senior forward Shante Evans scored 21 points and hauled in 16 rebounds to help Hofstra erase a 15-point deficit en route to a 72-63 victory over Ole Miss in the opening game of the New York Life Holiday Invitational on Friday night at the Mack Sports Complex.
Freshman Asia Jackson scored all 11 of her points in the second half and junior forward Anma Onyeuku posted 18 points and seven rebounds to help Hofstra snap a seven-game losing streak in improving to 2-7.
Sophomore Andreana Thomas racked up a career-high 10 assists to help Hofstra post its second-ever win against a member of the SEC and the first-ever regular season victory against a member of that conference. Hofstra defeated South Carolina in the third round of the 2007 WNIT.
Evans registered her fourth double-double of the season and the 54th of her career. Courtney Marbra scored 12 points and tallied nine rebounds to pace Ole Miss, which fell to 6-4.
Hofstra senior forward Candace Bond contributed on both ends of the floor, scoring eight points and notching eight rebounds. Her efforts helped Hofstra improve to 5-3 at home all-time against members of a BCS-level conference.
Hofstra out-scored Ole Miss in the second half 44-33 to give the Pride its fourth win over a BCS opponent in the last two years, including victories over St. John's, Kansas State and Seton Hall.
The Pride out-scored the Rebels in the lane by a 22-point margin (52-30) while crafting the edge in rebounds. Thomas had seven of her 10 assists in the second half to obliterate a previous career high of seven last set at Marist on Nov. 28. Jackson connected on both of Hofstra's three-pointers.
Hofstra utilized long outlet passes to generate a fast-break offense in the second half and generated turnovers by employing a full-court press, taking a 44-42 lead with 12:33 left. Freshman Alexis Carter's layup off Thomas' backcourt steal and crisp pass capped a 6-0 run, giving the Pride the advantage.
The Pride went on a 16-1 run overall, bolstered by Jackson's hot shooting and an up-temp offense. Junior Annie Payton later scored off a fast-break layup on the tail end of an 11-0 stretch for a 55-46 lead. Hofstra's defense held Ole Miss without a field goal on seven consecutive shots, keeping the Rebels off the board for a three-minute stretch.
Evans made a layup moments later and Jackson drilled a left-wing three-pointer, giving Hofstra what was then a game-high 13-point advantage (60-47) with 6:30 left in the second half.
The Pride defense prevented a comeback attempt by limiting
the three-point shot. Hofstra held the Rebels to just 1-for-11 shooting (9.1
percent) from three-point range in the second half.
Hofstra trailed by as much as 15 in the opening half before going on a 13-1 run, helping the Pride cut Ole Miss' lead to 30-28 heading into halftime.
The Rebels raced to a 22-7 lead thanks to a 9-0 run that spanned just more than three minutes. Ole Miss held Hofstra to six consecutive missed field goals in crafting the double-digit edge.
But Evans gave Hofstra an edge in the low post, scoring more than half of her team's points by posting 15 points through the opening 20 minutes as the Pride scored 26 of those 28 points in the paint.
Carter made her first career start for the Pride. The Woodbridge, Va. native finished with four points.
Ole Miss will face Northwestern on Saturday in a neutral site game at the Mack Sports Complex at 3 p.m. Hofstra will then conclude the New York Life Holiday Invitational on Sunday against Northwestern at 1 p.m.
The Pride and Wildcats will meet for just the second time and the first since 2001-02 campaign in which Northwestern won, 61-42, at home.