Hempstead, NY - Shante Evans scored 24 points and added 15 rebounds, and Marie Malone added 12 points and eight rebounds as Hofstra closed out its home schedule with a 66-55 win over UNCW at the Mack Sports Complex Sunday afternoon.
Hofstra improved to 19-9 overall and 11-6 in the CAA, and also clinched a first round bye in the upcoming CAA Championship. UNCW slips to 17-11 overall and 10-7 in the CAA. The Seahawks also saw their two-game winning streak halted.
The teams battled through a closely contested first half that featured two tie scores and two lead changes. UNCW took an 8-7 lead on a layup from Ayoola Weaver with 15:18 to play. But Hofstra retook the lead, 9-8, on a layup from Evans 12 second later. That keyed a 19-9 run over the next 11:11 to give Hofstra its largest lead of the half at 26-17. Evans had six points in the run while Malone and Katelyn Loper had five points each.
UNCW closed out the half on an 8-2 run, cutting the deficit to 28-25 on Chelsea McGowen's jumper with eight seconds left in the first. McGowen, Weaver and Abria Trice each scored six points in the half to pace the Seahawks. Malone led Hofstra with seven points and Evans contributed six points and 10 rebounds in the opening 20 minutes.
The second half saw four tie scores and four lead changes before Hofstra took control midway through the stanza. With the game tied at 41 with 12:42 to go following a pair of free throws from Tawanna Lee of UNCW, the Pride went on a 12-0 run over the next 4:35 to grab control of the game. Evans had six points in the run, which gave the Pride a 53-41 edge with 8:07 to play.
The Seahawks got to within six, 55-49, on a jumper from Lee with 4:30 to play. But UNCW would manage just one field goal and four free throws the rest of the way as Hofstra coasted to victory.
In addition to Malone, who was playing her final home game, fellow seniors Candice Bellocchio and Nicole Capurso contributed to the win. Bellocchio had four points, six assist and five rebounds, while Capurso added six points and three assists. Loper finished with seven points for the Pride and Candace Bond added seven points and three steals in the win.
Hofstra's defense was key to the win as the Pride scored 20 points off of 20 UNCW turnovers.
The Seahawks were led by Trice's 13 points, while Weaver had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Pride close out the regular season Wednesday night at Northeastern.