Moon Township, Pa. – Sophomore Ruth Sherrill set a career high with nine points and fellow sophomore Dee Thomas-Palmer converted a clutch three-point play late in the half to help Hofstra post a 65-63 season-opening victory over Robert Morris at the Charles L. Sewall Center.
Senior Anma Onyeuku had 13 points and seven rebounds before a knee injury sustained late in the opening half kept her out the entire second half for the Pride. Seven Hofstra players scored at least five points as Hofstra improved to 5-3 in the last eight season openers.
Sophomore Alexis Carter powered Hofstra's final stop. With RMU coming out of its last timeout, Ashley Ravelli ran down the clock and tied to drive before hoisting a shot near the foul line that hit the front rim and bounced out. Carter grabbed the rebound as time expired to secure the win as Hofstra defeated a Colonials squad that was picked to finish first in the Northeast Conference preseason poll.
Carter added eight points and seven rebounds, which were both career highs. Junior guard Andreana Thomas was a steady presence in the backcourt, contributing six points, seven assists and five rebounds. Freshman Elo Edeferioka compiled eight points and four rebounds in a stellar debut.
Thomas' passing helped Hofstra take the lead for good in a seesaw contest that featured 12 ties and 10 lead changes. Ravelli hit a pair of three-pointers to give RMU a late lead before freshman Kelly Loftus responded with a three-pointer for Hofstra to tie it at 58. Thomas-Palmer then scored off a low-post bounce pass to make it 60-59.
After a RMU basket, Thomas again set up a score with a hard pass to Carter on the low right block to put Hofstra ahead 62-61. Edeferioka then made a huge block on the other end, which set up a Hofstra possession in which Thomas-Palmer grabbed an offensive rebound off an air ball, drew contact with Rebeca Navarro and converted the three-point play for the 65-61 lead near the two-minute mark.
RMU cut it to 65-63 before Hofstra ran down game clock. The Pride got off a three-pointer that missed. But Thomas-Palmer grabbed the offensive rebound and drew a foul. Yet after her missed a free throw on a subsequent foul, RMU called timeout to set up a final play with 15.4 seconds left.
Sophomore Sydni Epps set a career high with six rebounds. Thomas had five of her seven total assists in the second half.
Artemis Spanou paced RMU with 16 points and 10 rebounds while Anna Stamolamprou contributed 14 points in 38 minutes.
The Pride employed a full-court press to surge to a 6-0 lead. The start was indicative of a strong season-opening half as Onyeuku scored 13 of Hofstra’s first 19 points and also posted seven rebounds to help the Pride take a 34-29 lead into the locker room. But Onyeuku went down on baseline of the defensive end late in the half and did not return.
Freshman Krystal Luciano drilled a three-pointer in the period for her first collegiate points while Edeferioka and Loftus also saw action early in their NCAA debuts.
A physical first half featured 26 combined fouls (13 for each team) saw Hofstra use 11 players and Robert Morris use five subs. Spanou, the reigning NEC Player of the Year, was held to just one point before the break after picking up two fouls in seven minutes.
Hofstra will have its home opener on Tuesday when the Pride hosts Boston College at the Mack Sports complex at 7 p.m. For ticket information, please call (516) HOF-TIXX or visit GoHofstra.com/tix.