Hempstead, NY – Junior All-American Shante Evans recorded her seventh double-double of the season to lead four Pride players in double-figures as host Hofstra defeated the Drexel Dragons, 76-65, in a CAA game at the Mack Sports Complex Thursday night. The Pride, winners in four of their last five games, improve to 10-3 on the season and 2-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association while Drexel, which dropped its fourth consecutive game, falls to 5-7 overall and 1-1 in conference play.
Evans tied for game-high scoring honors with 21 points and added 14 rebounds to post her fifth straight double-double and her seventh overall on the season. Senior guard Nicole Capurso, who notched her eighth double-figure game of the year, added 17 points and a game-high four steals. Sophomore guard Katelyn Loper recorded her fourth straight game and tenth overall this season in double-figures with 15 points and grabbed eight caroms. Junior forward Candace Bond was the fourth Pride in double-figures with 11 points as Hofstra received 73 of its 76 points from the starting line-up.
Drexel, which had three players in double-figures, received 21 points from junior guard Hollie Mershon, 18 points from preseason All-CAA selection, senior Kamile Nacickaite and 14 points from junior forward Taylor Wooton.
After a solid first half, the Pride blew the game open in the second half. Opening the second half leading 35-30, the Pride saw the Dragons get as close as they would just 14 seconds into the second half on a lay-up by Marisa Crane to cut the deficit to 35-32. But Hofstra would go on a 14-4 run, behind five points from Loper and four from Evans, over the next 3:57 to build a 49-36 advantage after a Capurso three-pointer with 14:53 to play. Capurso would also score Hofstra’s next five points as part of a 7-3 run to give the Pride their biggest lead of the game at 56-39 at the 12:32 mark after two free throws by Evans. Drexel would make a late run, outscoring the Pride 18-10 over a 6:33 span to close to 71-63 with 1:02 to play in the contest after two Jackie Schluth free throws. But it was too little, too late for the Dragons.
In a first half that featured four tied scores and just four lead changes, the Pride held the upper hand for much of the period. The Pride jumped out to their second biggest lead of the half at 8-2 at the three minute mark following a driving scoop lay-up and free throw by guard Candice Bellocchio. But the Dragons responded by going on their own 8-2 behind two three-pointers by Kamile Nacickaite and a lay-up by Taylor Wooton to tie the game at 10-10 with 14:43 to play in the half.
The two teams exchanged the next four baskets to set-up Hofstra’s next run. With the score knotted at 14, the Pride went on a 7-2 run over the next 3:54 with Shante Evans’ lay-up giving Hofstra a 21-16 advantage. Once again, Drexel battled back and scored seven of the next nine points to tie the game at 23 on Hollie Mershon’s three-pointer with 4:17 to play in the half. After Hofstra regained the lead on a Capurso driving lay-up 14 seconds later, Drexel took their first lead of the game at 26-25 on Mershon’s three-pointer with 3:38 to play. Two lead changes later and trailing 28-27 at the 3:06 mark, the Pride went on an 8-2 run to close the half and take a 35-30 lead into the break. Merson scored 12 points and Wooton added 10 for the Dragons while Evans tallied eight and Bellocchio and Loper chipped in with seven each for Hofstra in the first half.
The Pride take to the road and return to action this Sunday, January 8 when they face the Tribe of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, Game time is 2 p.m.