Spokane, WA – Sophomore guard Katelyn Loper (Post Falls, ID) led Hofstra with 18 points in her return to the Pacific Northwest, but Gonzaga pulled away in the second half for a 101-88 victory over Hofstra in the season opener for both teams.
Freshman guard Andreana Thomas (West Haven, CT) tied Loper for team-high honors with 18 points as well. Thomas also tied for team-high honors with four assists and had five rebounds in her collegiate debut.
Hofstra falls to 0-1 with the loss, while Gonzaga improves to 1-0. Gonzaga, one of the nation’s elite programs, compiled a 31-5 record last season and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Early in the first half, a pair of free throws by senior guard Nicole Capurso followed by a jumper from senior guard Candice Bellocchio would give Hofstra a 4-2 advantage just 2:06 into the contest. Gonzaga immediately responded, though, and went on a 16-0 scoring to lead 18-4. The Bulldogs would extend their lead to as many as 23, 35-12, with 9:32 left in the opening stanza before Hofstra began to rally.
The Pride would cut the deficit to 11 at the break as they outscored Gonzaga, 29-17, over the final 9:12 of the first stanza to trail 52-41 at the break. Bellocchio led Hofstra with 10 points in the first twenty minutes of the season, while Thomas added seven points for the Pride.
Gonzaga would start the second half on fire as they opened the stanza with a 20-6 run to take its largest lead of the contest at 72-47 with 14:01 to play in regulation.
A layup from senior center Marie Malone with 9:55 to play in the second half would get the deficit back under 20 at 78-59, but Gonzaga proved too strong down the stretch for Hofstra as they would go on to defeat the Pride, 101-88.
The 101 points by Gonzaga marked the first time Hofstra has allowed at least 100 points in a game since February 12, 2004 at Old Dominion (105-62 loss).
Joining Loper and Thomas in double figures was Bellocchio and junior forward Shante Evans with 13 apiece. Evans added five rebounds, while Capurso had five points and four assists for the Pride. Junior forward Candace Bond had team-highs of nine rebounds and six steals for Hofstra.
Kayla Standish led Gonzaga with 22 points and added six rebounds, while Katelan Redmon had 15 points and a game-high 13 rebounds for the Bulldogs.
Hofstra returns to action on Sunday when it continues its two-game road trip to start the 2011-12 campaign with a 1 p.m. local time (4 p.m. EST) contest at Eastern Washington. Hofstra will play its home opener next Friday, November 18 against St. John’s. For ticket information call 516-HOF-TIXX or visit GoHofstra.com.