Fairfax, VA – Junior forward Shante Evans had a game-high 28 points, while senior guard Candice Bellocchio scored the 1,000th point of her career as the Hofstra Women’s Basketball team cruised to a 82-70 victory over George Mason on Sunday afternoon at the Patriot Center.
Evans moved into seventh place all-time in scoring with her output today. She now has 1,470 career points and will look to pass Vanessa Gidden, who ranks sixth all-time at Hofstra with 1,489 points.
The win ends a two-game losing skid for Hofstra, which improves to 17-7 overall and 9-4 in Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play with the win. George Mason falls to 12-12 and 6-7 in league action with the loss.
In addition to the career points milestone, Bellocchio also played in the 126th game of her career, tying Cigi McCollin (2002-07) for first on the all-time list.
A high-scoring first half would see Hofstra take a 49-41 lead at the break behind 14 points from Evans and 12 from senior guard Nicole Capurso.
The opening basket of the game belonged to Bellocchio as the fifth-year senior scored the 1,000th point of her stellar career just 1:27 into the contest to become only the 23rd member of the 1,000-Point Club at Hofstra. She is the third member of the current roster to reach that career milestone as Evans reached it as a sophomore and Capurso joined the club earlier this season at Georgia State.
Hofstra was on fire early on as the Pride jumped out to a 15-3 lead behind six points apiece from Evans and Capurso. A layup from junior forward Candace Bond at the 14:10 mark gave Hofstra the early 12-point advantage.
The Pride would continue to keep the Patriots at arm’s length and pushed their lead to 14, 32-18, with 7:40 remaining in the opening stanza before George Mason rallied. Amber Easter almost single-handedly got George Mason back into the contest as she scored seven points during a 12-0 Patriot run that closed the gap to 32-30 with 5:27 to play before intermission.
Hofstra would push its lead back to double-digits before the end of the half as a jumper from junior forward Deven Green with 15 seconds to play made the score 49-39 in favor of the Pride before Taleia Moton closed the first half scoring with a jumper of her own.
The lead would stay around 10 for the beginning portion of the second half until Hofstra used a 7-0 scoring run to take a 66-50 lead with 9:31 to play. Bond had back-to-back baskets, including a three-pointer, to push the lead to 16.
A jumper from Cierra Strickland with 5:14 to play would close the gap to 12, but Hofstra once again had an answer as senior center Marie Malone and Evans hit back-to-back buckets to move the lead back to 16 with 3:33 showing on the clock.
Hofstra was never seriously challenged the rest of the contest as they would cruise to the 12-point victory.
Bellocchio finished the game with eight points, seven assists, five rebounds and three steals.
Evans also had five rebounds in the contest and now has 903 in her career to move into fifth place all-time at Hofstra. She passed Sheryl Hall (899; 1978-82) and is closing in on Vanessa Gidden (911; 2003-07).
Junior forward Candace Bond had 13 points, eight rebounds and three steals for Hofstra as well. She now has 204 career steals to rank eighth in program history.
Amber Easter led George Mason with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Janaa Pickard added 17 points and 10 rebounds. Taleia Moton chipped in with 11 points for the Patriots.
Hofstra returns to action on Thursday when it hosts Delaware at 7 p.m. The Blue Hens will be the highest-ranked opponent that Hofstra has ever hosted as Delaware came into this week ranked No. 12 in both the Associated Press poll and the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll.