Hempstead, N.Y. -- Hofstra has been able to generate leads in the second half of games this season. Now, the Pride will look to finish strong as the team returns home to host Harvard on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Mack Sports Complex.
The game is a rematch of last season's WNIT first-round contest. Hofstra (1-4) has posted a second-half advantage in three of five games this season and has historically played well at home, going 39-17 since the 2008-09 campaign.
The Pride will be looking to snap a four-game losing streak in the opener of a doubleheader that will also feature the Hofstra men's basketball program taking on the Larry Brown-coached SMU Mustangs at 4 p.m. For ticket information please call (516) HOF-TIXX. Tickets can also be purchased here.
Senior forward Shante Evans is coming off a milestone game in which the West Chester, Pa. native set Hofstra's all-time rebounding mark. In the past two games against Saint Joseph's and Marist, Evans has combined for 38 points and 29 rebounds. She is leading Hofstra in both scoring (15.6) and rebounding (10.6), notching double-doubles in three games while becoming the only Pride player to finish in double figures in points in every game.
With her first of 14 rebounds against the Red Foxes, Evans surpassed Kate Gordon (1994-98) for the most rebounds in Hofstra history. Evans has 1,045 career rebounds to move ahead of Gordon's 1,031.
Evans continues to give Hofstra a scoring option down low, whereas Harvard (5-2) has won two in a row and five of the last six based on the strength of its outside shooting. The Crimson, which defeated the Pride, 73-71, in Hempstead in last year's postseason game, has started the current campaign finding a comfort zone on the outside.
Harvard is connecting on 43.9 percent of its three-point attempts. Emma Golen has been the hottest shooter, going 16-for-24 (66 percent) from beyond the arc as one of five Harvard players to average more than seven points.
Senior Candace Bond has also been giving Hofstra's offense a versatile look. Though judicious with her shots, Bond leads the Colonial Athletic Association with her 55.6 percent three-point shooting. Defensively, Bond continues climb up the Hofstra record book into third place on the all-time steals list with 223.
Hofstra's young backcourt continues to get valuable experience. Sophomore Andreana Thomas has been a fixture in the lineup, averaging 34.4 minutes per game. She posted seven assists playing in a loud environment at Marist's McCann Arena, marking the second time this season she has racked up that many assists in her first season as a starter.
Though the box scores won't generally list Annie Payton as a starter, the junior guard has logged minutes worthy of those who are out for the opening tap. Payton has given Hofstra huge lift as a reserve, evidenced by her 16-point effort against Marist in which she knocked down a pair of three-pointers in helping Hofstra post a 22-20 advantage in bench points over the Red Foxes. For the season, Payton is one of just two players to average in double figures in points despite starting just one of the first five games (10.8 PPG).
A strong backcourt will help Hofstra square off against a Harvard unit that is led by junior guard Christine Clark and her 18.1 points-per-game average. Clark can score from all over the court, including six three-pointers, a 45 percent field goal percentage overall and a perfect 23-for-23 showing at the foul line.
In the last meeting between the schools, Evans scored 26 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. Clark scored 23 points in that game, though Evans might be defended by Harvard forward Victoria Lippert. The senior scored nine points in the WNIT contest and is averaging 11.7 points and a Crimson-best 6.3 rebounds.
Hofstra has gotten off to fast starts, scoring the opening points in every game this season. The Pride also saw four players finish in double figures last game, marking the second time that has occurred in 2012-13.
Before the game, Hofstra will have a short ceremony to honor Evans' rebounding record and a presentation for the WNIT banner.