Hempstead, N.Y. - Junior forward Shante Evans and senior guard Candice Bellocchio posted the first Hofstra double-doubles of the season and sophomore guard Katelyn Loper scored 13 of her game-high 29 points in the second half to lead Hofstra to a 93-82 win over St. John's on Friday night at the Mack Sports Complex.
Evans scored 27 points and hauled in 14 rebounds and senior guards Nicole Capurso (14 points) and Bellocchio (12 points) gave Hofstra four double-figure scorers in helping the Pride improve to 2-1. St. John's fell to 1-2. Bellocchio recorded 12 assists, falling just two short of her career-high in her fourth career double-double against the Big East-member Red Storm.
Evans and Loper combined for 56 points, accounting for more than 60 percent of the team's total offense. Hofstra cracked the 90-point plateau for the second straight game. The Pride won for the first time in seven all-time home meetings between the schools and for the second time in 13 matchups against the Red Storm overall. Hofstra's other victory in the series came almost a decade ago with a 61-34 victory in the SJU Thanksgiving Tournament on Nov. 23, 2001.
A back-and-forth game that featured 12 lead changes finally swung in Hofstra's favor in the last four minutes. Capurso completed two aggressive drives to score three-straight Hofstra points, putting her team up 78-77.
Bellocchio then set up two clutch scores, drawing two defenders on a drive before kicking it out to Loper for a right-wing three-pointer and a 81-77 edge with 3:15 left. Bellocchio continued to be a key playmaker the next trip down, delivering a bullet pass to Evans to facilitate two free throw attempts.
Head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey's team made the lead stand up with five straight defensive stops and Capurso secured the win with a driving layup for a 86-77 edge.
Despite giving up two inches to Amber Thompson, the 6-0 Evans created space in the paint the Pride made a concentrated effort to dump the ball in the low blocks. Evans, who picked up her 33rd career double-double, helped the Pride score 34 points in the paint.
Hofstra found an early rhythm from the three-point range, hitting four of its first five attempts from beyond the arc against a St. John's zone defense. The Pride also showed an ability to score in different ways, building a 25-12 lead.
Capurso drilled a left-wing three-pointer near the Red Storm bench and Bellocchio stole the ball at midcourt and hit a layup while getting fouled. Off a rebound on the missed free-throw attempt, Evans scored on a close-range layup to cap a 13-2 run for a 13-point edge.
Loper reached double figures in less than 10 minutes and Evans nearly notched a double-double before the break, scoring 12 points and tallying nine rebounds. But St. John's scored four points in the final six seconds to cut the Pride's halftime lead to 45-44.
Hofstra will next be in action when it travels to Mexico to play two games in the Cancun Challenge. The Pride will face Kansas State on Thanksgiving Day at 3 p.m. before taking on Drake on Friday at 1:30 p.m.