Hempstead, N.Y.- After posting wins in seven of the last eight games, the Hofstra women's basketball team will be looking to continue its hot start in conference play with a televised matchup at James Madison on Sunday at 5:30 p.m.
The game, which will be shown locally on SportsNet New York, will feature a Pride squad that is 8-8 overall and 4-1 against the Colonial Athletic Association. James Madison (10-7, 4-1) has won three in a row and seven of the last eight.
Last season, Hofstra lost both games to the Dukes. The Pride trails in the all-time series, 8-11, though head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey will look to turn that around in returning to the school where she served as an assistant coach for four seasons before coming to Hofstra.
Kilburn-Steveskey will lead a team that is coming off an 83-72 victory over Old Dominion. In that contest, sophomore guard Andreana Thomas tallied a career-high 13 assists in posting her second career double-double. Seven of Thomas' assists came in the second half as the West Haven, Conn. native fell one shy of setting Hofstra's single-game record (Candice Bellocchio's 14 assists at St. Francis on Nov. 18, 2009).
Thomas is leading the CAA with 6.1 assists per game, which is more than two more than the next-closest competitor in Drexel's Hollie Mershon (3.9). This weekend's matchup at the JMU Convocation Center will feature two of the league's top-four scoring offenses as Hofstra (63.8 points) and JMU (67.1) have been aggressive on the offensive end.
Leading the Hofstra attack is senior forward Shante Evans, who is averaging a double-double with 16.9 points and 10.5 rebounds. Evans, who became the school's all-time scoring and rebounding leader this season, is on pace to score 2,000 points.
Among active players, Evans' 58 career doubles-doubles is the most of any Division I women's basketball player, according to STATS LLC. When it comes to active players that hold their teams career points and rebounding records, Evans is in even more select company on a three-player list that includes Kennesaw State's Sametria Gideon and Loyola Marymount Alex Cowling on that list. Like Evans, Gideon is a 6-0 forward. At 5-10, Cowling has played both guard and forward.
Evans, a two-time All-America selection, has scored in double figures in 15 of 16 games this year, including a season-high 30-point output against the Lady Monarchs.
James Madison's strength is in its backcourt, helping the Dukes post the league's second highest-scoring offense. Senior guard Tarik Hislop is averaging 16.5 points while compiling 58 assists. Fellow guard Kirby Burkholder is the other JMU player averaging in double figures, notching 14.6 points thanks in large part to her 37.8 percent (48-for-127) three-point shooting. Overall, the Dukes have hit 22 more three-pointer than opponents and have are shooting 35.4 percent on three-pointers while holding teams to just 28.9 percent from long range.
To limit the total number of James Madison possessions, the Pride will look for senior forward Candace Bond to lead a Pride defense that ranks first in the CAA in steals. Bond is the conference's individual leader in steals per game after swiping 53 balls through the first 16 games.
Junior Anma Onyeuku quietly is continuing her breakout season. After scoring 18 points over ODU, the forward is one of just four players in the entire CAA with a field goal percentage greater than 50 percent. Onyeuku is shooting 53.9 percent and trails only Evans for the team's scoring lead at 9.6 points. Onyeuku has scored in double figures six times this season.