Hempstead, NY - Freshman forward Elo Edeferioka posted her first double-double with career-highs of 14 points and 14 rebounds, but the College of Charleston pulled away in the second half and held on for a 62-59 win over the Pride Friday afternoon at the Mack Sports Complex.
The afternoon game was Hofstra’s What I Want to Be Day and was attended by nearly 1,500 elementary school children who were treated to presentations on various career choices before the game.
Hofstra fell to 6-9 overall and 1-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association with the loss. Charleston upped its record to 9-7 overall and 2-1 in league action.
The two teams played a closely-contested first half that saw the Pride hold a one-point lead at the halftime, 27-26. Hofstra jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two consecutive Edeferioka baskets. But the Cougars responded with a 7-2 run to take their only lead of the contest at 7-6 following a jumper from Breanna Bolden. The Pride would take a 10-7 lead after a free throw from freshman guard Krystal Luciano and Payton's three-pointer.
Hofstra would extend the lead to seven on two occasions, the last with 1:25 remaining on a pair of free throws from Edeferioka that made the score 27-20. Charleston would then score the final six points of the period, five from Erin Hall.
Hofstra started the second half the same way as the first, scoring the first four points on baskets from Edeferioka and Onyeuku to take a 31-26 lead one minute into the half. A three-pointer from Charleston’s Alyssa Frye cut the Pride lead to two, but Onyeuku replied with a three of her own to push the lead back up to five, 34-29, with 18:19 to play.
The Cougars would come back and take their first lead of the half, 38-37, on another Frye three-pointer with 13:32 remaining. Hall followed with a three of her own to give Charleston its then-largest lead, 41-37. But the Pride stormed back by scoring five consecutive points for a 42-41 lead. Payton had a three and Edeferioka put the Pride ahead with a pair of free throws with 11:29 to go.
The back-and-forth continued as Charleston’s Mikaela Hopkins’ personal 5-0 run put the Cougars back up by four, 46-42, with 9:25 to play. A three-point play by Afreyea Tolbert pushed the lead to seven, 49-42, with 7:46 to play. The lead grew to as many as eight on four occasions, the last at 56-48 with 5:57 to go.
An 8-1 run by the Pride cut the deficit to one, 57-56, on Payton’s layup with 2:19 to play. Jasmine Carter would put the Cougars back up by three, 59-56, with a put back after a missed jumper. Hofstra could not score on its next three possessions and Jillian Brown hit three of four free throws down the stretch to seal the win for Charleston. Sophomore guard Asia Jackson hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to account for the final Hofstra points.
Edeferioka added four assists, while Jackson had four steals.
Tolbert led Charleston with 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Hall had 14 points. Frye finished with 11 points. Charleston pulled down 23 offensive rebounds in the game and posted 18 second chance points.
Hofstra returns to action Sunday when it hosts James Madison at 2 p.m. Ticket information is available by calling (516) HOF-TIXX or by visiting GoHofstra.com/tix.