Hempstead, N.Y. – Hofstra will take a short reprieve from league play when the Pride hosts NJIT in a rare February non-conference matchup on Thursday at 7 p.m. from the Mack Sports Complex.
The Pride has won four of the last five and enters with a 10-11 overall record and a 5-5 mark against the Colonial Athletic Association. NJIT (5-20) will be playing its first game since Feb. 3 looking to snap a five-game losing streak.
For ticket information to all Hofstra Basketball home games please call (516) HOF-TIXX or visit GoHofstra.com/tix. Free PRIDE ZONE Live Video/Audio of Thursday’s game is available on GoHofstra.com. Live audio can be heard on the PRIDE ZONE on GoHofstra.com, GoHofstra app, WRHU (88.7 FM) and WRHU.org.
Defensively, Hofstra is coming off a strong effort in which the Pride held William & Mary to just 36.5 percent shooting and posted a 51-31 rebounding advantage in the win over the Tribe. Head Coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey’s team has not allowed a team to shoot 50 percent or better from the field and has held 12 opponents to less than 40 percent shooting. The Pride already has four 50-rebound games this season.
Sophomore guard Asia Jackson is coming off back-to-back games in double figures, including a 10-point effort and a season-high four assists against the Tribe. Jackson also tied a personal best with 20 points last week at Towson and is averaging seven points.
In her first season with the team, sophomore Jakelle King-Gilchrist has scored at least six points in two of the last four games after doing that just twice in her first 13 games. The Florida State transfer notched six rebounds and 11 points in the win over UNCW on Jan. 31 and has become a solid contributor as a reserve.
Senior guard Annie Payton, who was named the CAA’s Player of the Week on Feb. 3, scored 19 points off the bench for the Pride against William & Mary. Despite playing as a reserve in 11 of Hofstra’s 21 contests, Payton’s is the team’s second-leading scorer at 11.1 points behind senior Anma Onyeuku (11.6 PPG).
While Payton and Onyeuku provide veteran leadership off the court and productivity on the hardwood, Hofstra has looked to its three-member freshmen class to play major minutes as starters. Elo Edeferioka, Kelly Loftus and Krystal Luciano have teamed with Jackson to give Hofstra four starters who are underclassmen. Edeferioka is Hofstra’s leading rebounder at 7.1 boards-per-game while Luciano has taken over the starting point guard responsibilities.
Hofstra won the only previous meeting between the schools when the Pride posted a 60-43 win at the Mack Sports Complex in the 2008-09 campaign. This season, NJIT will be looking to get back on track after three straight road defeats at Penn, Maryland Eastern Shore and SIUE. NJIT is 1-12 in road games this season with the only non-home win coming at LIU Brooklyn.
The Highlanders have struggled offensively by averaging just 55.8 points per game and cracking the 60-point plateau just nine times through the first 25 games. Shakia Robinson is NJIT’s leading scorer at 11.2 points per game while Martina Matejcikova is also close to averaging in double figures with a 9.1 PPG average. Uju Nwankwo has been a near double-double threat by averaging 8.9 points and a team-leading 8.7 rebounds. Opponents have forced an average of 17.2 turnovers per game.