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Annie Payton scored a career-high 17 points for Hofstra
Courtesy: Hofstra Athletic Communications
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WBB: Hofstra Wins Season Opener Over Stetson

Courtesy: Hofstra Athletic Communications
Release: 11/09/2012

Daytona Beach, Fla. -  Junior guard Annie Payton scored a career-high 17 points and senior forward Shante Evans scored 13 points and added 12 rebounds to lead Hofstra to a season-opening 77-75 win over Stetson in the WBI Tip-Off Classic at Ocean Center on Friday afternoon.

Freshman guard Asia Jackson (Peekskill, N.Y.) earned the start in her collegiate debut and was one of four Hofstra players to finish in double figures, scoring 13 points while sophomore guard Andreana Thomas poured in 10 points and racked up seven assists.

Hofstra (1-0) won on opening day for the second time in the last four seasons and the first time since 2009. Stetson (0-1) was led by Shanasa Sanders, who scored a game-high 24 points.

Payton (Camden, N.J.) shot 6-for-12 and scored seven of her points in the second half, nearly putting up a point-per-minute played in logging 21 minutes as a reserve. She bested her previous career high of 15 points set at Delaware on Jan. 2, 2011.

Evans (West Chester, PA.),who had 18 double-doubles as junior, notched another one on opening day. The Senior CLASS Award candidate and two-time All-American selection registered her 51st career double-double, shooting 6-for-13 from the field.

Evans scored on a layup with 44 seconds left, turning a one-point deficit into a lead with the game-winning basket. Hofstra's defense didn't allow Stetson to get off another shot and Payton hit on her second free throw attempt in the final two seconds to provide the final margin.

Freshman forward Dee Thomas-Palmer (Philadelphia, PA) hit two free throws in the final five minutes and scored on a driving layup in her first NCAA game, finishing with six points and five rebounds.

Sanders gave Stetson a chance to win, hitting on 8-of-20 shots, including five of the Hatters' nine total three-pointers. Her last trey from the far left-wing in front of the Stetson bench gave the Hatters a 75-74 lead with 1:03 left, marking the last time Hofstra would trail as Evans scored on the next possession.

Evans game-winning score marked the last of six lead changes in the second half.

Hofstra was able to create opportunities when the Hatters moved to a man defense late in the opening half, taking a 40-35 lead into the break. Evans had 10 points and seven of Hofstra's 20 rebounds in the first 20 minutes.

Payton gave Hofstra a jolt off the bench, scoring 10 points and adding two rebounds in just 13 minutes. Hofstra opened a double-digit lead over the Hatters, though Stetson cut the deficit thanks to solid early three-point shooting.  Sanders hit on three of her five three-point attempts before halftime.

Hofstra will conclude the Tip-Off Classic tomorrow against Big 12-power Texas at 2 p.m. from Ocean Center.

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