Hempstead, N.Y. - The Hofstra women's basketball team will return home for the first time in three weeks when the Pride hosts the New York Life Holiday Invitational starting with a 7 p.m. contest on Friday against Ole Miss at the Mack Sports Complex.
Hofstra will cap the three-team event on Sunday against Northwestern at 1 p.m. On Saturday, Ole Miss and Northwestern will play at 3 p.m. in the middle game of the tournament. The Pride will be hosting an in-season tournament for the second consecutive year after first hosting the New York Life-sponsored event last season. It is just the third time since 1982-83 Hofstra has hosted an in-season tournament.
Hofstra (1-7) will be looking to pick up its first win at home this season. The Pride won the event last season, defeating Central Connecticut State and Marist. This year, a pair of BCS-members will visit Hempstead with the SEC-member Rebels entering Friday with a 6-3 record and wins in four of their last six games.
Northwestern is 6-4 and will look to get back to its early-season success. The Big 10-member Wildcats won the first six games of the season but will now be looking to snap a four-game losing streak following back-to-back home defeats to Bowling Green and No. 9 California.
After a 10-day break from game action, Hofstra will be making its first appearance at home since Dec. 1. After playing six of the first eight games away from home, the Pride will be starting a stretch of five consecutive home games, including three straight before Colonial Athletic Association play commences on Dec. 6 against William & Mary.
Hofstra junior forward Anma Onyeuku will seek to build on her breakout season. The Fayetteville, Ga. native continued her stellar start to her year as a starter when she hauled in a career-high 13 rebounds as part of a double-double effort against Harvard on Dec. 1.
With her family in attendance at Auburn in Hofstra's last game, Onyeuku scored a career-high 21 points against SEC-member Auburn in front of her family at Auburn Arena on Dec. 9. Onyeuku went 9-of-14 from the floor and was 3-for-3 on foul shots against the Tigers.
Hofstra will be playing a SEC opponent for the second consecutive game after taking on Auburn. Ole Miss and Northwestern will represent the fourth and fifth BCS-member schools to oppose the Pride this season. Hofstra has already faced the Tigers, Big East-member St. John's and Texas, which belongs to the Big 12.
The frontcourt has been a strong suit for Hofstra as senior forward Shante Evans is averaging a double-double per game, posting 15.5 points and 10.1 rebounds. Evans, a two-time All-America selection, is one of just three players in the CAA to average double-digit rebounds. The 6-foot Westchester, Pa. native will try and combat an Ole Miss squad that averaged more than 43 rebounds per contest entering the week. Evans has scored in double figures in seven of the first eight games.
Sophomore guard Andreana Thomas has been a stalwart in the Hofstra backcourt, logging a team-high 34.6 minutes per game. With 8.3 points per game, she is one of four Pride players with a scoring average of more than eight, joining Evans, Onyeuku (8.1) and junior Annie Payton (9.9).Thomas has predominantly run the point and leads the league in assists with 4.1 per contest.
and Ole Miss will square off for the first time in history. On Sunday, the
Pride and Wildcats will meet for just the second time and the first since
2001-02 campaign in which Northwestern won, 61-42, at home.
For ticket information to the New York Life Holiday Invitational, presented by Hofstra University, please call 516-HOF-TIXX or visit this page on GoHofstra.com.