Just the Facts, Ma'am: The Hofstra Pride took control in the second half to claim a 66-55 victory over UNC-Wilmington on Senior Day in Hempstead. Shante Evans led the way with 24 points and 15 rebounds. For the Seahawks, Abria Trice had 13 points, and Ayoola Weaver added ten points and ten rebounds.
For a lot of Bellocchios, wrestling moves, body paint, and a desperate agent hiring push, join your intrepid and smug blogger after the jump.
Another day, another game, another Senior Day to celebrate. The Game Notes of Doom wanted to cheer for Hofstra at some point this season, and a good Liberty fan looks for any excuse she can find to boo the living daylights out of Cynthia Cooper-(no, I will not refer to her by her married name).
Hofstra's seniors are one of the managers, transfer center Marie Malone, and guards Nicole Capurso and Candice Bellocchio. The manager and Capurso went up with their respective parents. Malone went up with her parents and a couple of miscellaneous relations. Bellocchio went up with her parents and what appeared to be half the population of Staten Island. Okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but she had a group of fifteen or twenty people with her. C'mon. Don't you think that's much of a muchness?
It's halftime, with Hofstra hanging on to a three-point lead. Marie Malone's leading the way with seven points and some great defensive plays. Three players have six each for the Seahawks of Wilmington. The crowd is not thrilled with the officiating. I am included in the crowd.
I did like Candace Brown's anthem, though. She can sing it every night, as far as I'm concerned.
Cynthia Cooper-Bleep has rubbed me the wrong way for a very long time. Having an excuse to boo her is always a bonus for a Liberty fan. Her team rubbed me the wrong way too, getting chippy and downright dirty at some points. They went low a lot, which is a good way to get away with stuff because the points of emphasis are elbows and the head because of concussion fears. I saw a lot of tripping and hip-checks. And then she started complaining to the officials because of foul differential. Tell your players to stop fouling and the refs will probably stop calling fouls on them.
Brittany Gamby played briefly near the end of the game, but didn't make an impact; I'm assuming she's a three-point specialist, since Wilmington was down ten at the time, but she didn't have an opportunity to get a shot off. Jessica Freeman came in off the bench early and often, making good plays driving the lane and making space for her teammates. Theresa Jackson-Henderson gave them decent minutes in the post off the bench- she was one of the most physical players, though I wonder if part of that had to do with this being a homecoming game against familiar faces from Staten Island.
Alisha Andrews has a pretty quick release- have to if you're that small. She's a pretty good playmaker, too. I expected her to be more of a defensive player, due to her size. Unfortunately for her and her team, Candace Bellocchio eats tiny guards for breakfast. Chelsea McGowen showed some moves early in the game, but had to leave in the second half with an ankle injury. (At least, when she went down in a writhing mass of agony, she was holding her ankle. I'm not sure if it was that or an Achilles- I didn't see the whole play.) Tawanna Lee tried to put the team on her shoulders in the second half, being more assertive, or at least more successful, on offense, but even that had mixed results. Abria Trice impressed me- she lists as a guard/forward, but she was doing a lot of interior play for a guard. Ayoola Weaver got things done for her team on the inside, on both sides of the floor. My favorite play of the game for the Seahawks was the pick that Freeman set for her for a jumper in the first half.
I'm not sure tyranny and fear are good bases for a team, but as long as Cynthia Cooper-Bleep doesn't get fired for it, I guess it'll work for her.
Anma Oneyuku had a run where everything on both sides of the floor was going through her. Unfortunately for her and the Pride, she wasn't able to capitalize as well as her team would have liked. I think she had three shot opportunities in that run and missed two of them. Andreana Thomas came off the bench as a counter to Andrews, and though her effectiveness was mixed for most of the game, the bucket she came up with late was an important part of the momentum turning towards Hofstra. Deven Green played early in the second half, and she wasn't as bad as I had expected from the last couple of time I've seen her play- she mixed it up a little inside and forced a held ball. Katelyn Loper came off the bench for this game in order to allow Marie Malone to start, and while I love how quick her release is and how easy it is for her to get her shot in line, I'm not as thrilled with her insistence on trying to bank every shot she takes. There are no degree of difficulty points in basketball.
Marie Malone took the opportunity given to her and took full advantage of it. She played like a post who had spent time under the tutelage of Mike Carey. She had a couple of beautiful blocks and was fighting for every rebound she was in position to try for. Her teammates seemed to enjoy testing her ability to go for passes, too; Bellocchio threw one best described as, well, a "Hail Marie" that Malone corralled and eventually turned into points after a couple of misses. Candace Bond didn't have her head as in the game as I've become accustomed to- not always in the right place at the right time, not taking the best shots, not making all of the defensive plays. Candice Bellocchio matches up well with Wilmington's style, so though she wasn't shooting all that well, she was able to make plays on both ends of the floor for her team. Nicole Capurso mostly stayed outside the arc- a little too far outside the arc, if you ask me. It's really not necessary to take those shots from Staten Island. When they go in, it's amazing, but when they don't go in, that sets up the opponent with a long rebound. I can't believe I'm about to complain about a 24/15 game, but I'm about to complain about a 24/15 game, because Shante Evans needs to figure out what kind of player she's going to be. If she's going to use her body the way she seems to prefer most of the time- if she's going to be a short but strong bruiser like DeTrina White and the young Le'Coe Willingham- then she needs to be more assertive in the post, hang on to rebounds better, and stop taking that dribble before she puts up the putback. If she wants to take off-balance outside jumpers, and if she wants to try and make herself into more of a three, then she's going to have to slim down. But she's a tank, and when she puts her mind to it, she's an unstoppable force- 9/20 from the field is unacceptable for a player of her talent.
Credit to the Hofstra student section for getting into the game. I'm not sure whether it's appropriate to distract free throw shooters with a large ¡DERP!, though. (During the rest of the game, they were PRIDE!, with the I being lower case so he could use it as an exclamation point for free throws.) They were respectful of their seniors, and showed class when McGowen went out with the injury. I like the enthusiasm- they just need a little more creativity.
I think the referees got a little starstruck by Cooper. There were a lot of reaches that weren't called.
We got to the game later than is our wont, so we didn't get to comment on all the Family Fun stuff, but your intrepid blogger always appreciates cheap tickets. Thanks for the discount!
Traveling to Hofstra after the change to NICE is a little more complicated than Long Island Bus. That might put a wrench in any future trips, which is a shame- we all know how much I love the Mack.
It was a good game, and a necessary game for the Pride. I like to see seniors sent off well, especially ones who've played well for a long time.