Cancun, Mexico – Junior forward Shante Evans had 19 points and seven rebounds, while senior guard Nicole Capurso added nine points, six rebounds and three assists to lead the Hofstra Women’s Basketball team to a 64-54 victory over Kansas State on Thursday afternoon at the Cancun Challenge in Cancun, Mexico.

The win was Hofstra’s third straight since  a season-opening defeat at Gonzaga and improved the Pride’s record to 3-1 this season.  It was Hofstra’s first-ever win over a current member of the Big 12 Conference.  Kansas State suffered its first defeat of the 2011-12 campaign and falls to 3-1 with the loss.

It marked Hofstra’s second straight victory over a squad from a BCS conference as the Pride defeated St. John’s, 93-82, last Friday.  In addition, both victories were by at least 10 points, including today’s contest in which the Pride held a commanding 30-16 lead at halftime.

Hofstra trailed by six points early in the opening stanza, 8-2, before stepping up its defensive pressure and holding the Wildcats to just eight points over the final 17:04 of the first half.  During that stretch, the Pride would outscore Kansas State, 28-8, to open the 14-point halftime advantage.  

The run was a 17-2 one at a certain point in the first stanza as Hofstra turned the 8-2 deficit into a 19-10 advantage with 8:35 to play before intermission following a jumper from sophomore guard Katelyn Loper.  Evans and Capurso keyed the run for Hofstra as Evans led Hofstra with eight points during the 17-2 run and Capurso added five.

A three-point play from Evans to open the second half would push Hofstra’s lead to 17 points, its largest of the game at 33-16 before the Wildcats began to mount a rally.  Kansas State slowly began to chip away at the large deficit and cut the Hofstra lead to single digits with 15:58 to play after a layup from Brittany Chambers that made the score 35-27.

With Hofstra leading 45-36 at the 11:20 mark, Kansas State got baskets from Jalana Childs and Tasha Dickey to get to within five points.  It was the closest the game had been since Hofstra led 15-10 with 9:42 remaining in the first half.

Hofstra immediately answered, though, as Loper hit back-to-back baskets (including a three-pointer), to push the advantage back to double-digits at 50-40 with 8:48 to play.

The Pride would never be seriously challenged the rest of the way as Kansas State could only manage to get within six with just over two minutes remaining.  Junior forward Candace Bond sealed the win with a pair of free throws with 49 seconds left to account for the final score of 64-54.

Loper was second on the team in scoring in the contest with 10 points, while Bond chipped in with six points, five rebounds and three steals.  

Hofstra was a stellar 15-18 (83.3%) from the charity stripe in the game, led by a perfect 4-4 showing from Capurso.  The Pride also continued its strong defense as they had 12 steals and forced 20 Kansas State turnovers.

Childs led Kansas State with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Dickey added 15 points, six rebounds and three steals.

Hofstra returns to action tomorrow when it closes play at the Cancun Challenge with a contest against Drake.  Game time from the Galactic Ballroom is 1:30 p.m. local time (2:30 p.m. EST).