The Hofstra women’s basketball team is moments away from taking to the Gampel Pavilion floor against the number-one ranked and defending national champion University of Connecticut in the first of three games at the WBCA Classic. It is Hofstra’s first meeting with UConn since Dec. 22, 2005 when the Pride fell to the Huskies 86-49. Whatever the result of tonight’s game Hofstra’s name will be in the national spotlight either by pulling off one of the monumental upsets in women’s college basketball history or UConn giving its legendary head coach Geno Auriemma his 700th career victory. The Gampel Pavilion stands are packed with thousands of Husky followers but there is also a decent showing of Hofstra fans thanks to a bus trip organized by the university’s athletic department and plenty of family and friends supporting Pride senior guard and Simsbury, Conn. native Sam Brigham. Hofstra enters tonight’s game 3-0 for the first time in a dozen years after posting wins over Buffalo, St. Francis College (NY) and Albany.
Hofstra- Candice Bellocchio (guard), Sam Brigham (guard), Marie Malone (guard), Shante Evans (forward)and Jess Fuller (center)
UConn-Tiffany Hayes (guard), Kalana Greene (guard)Caroline Doty (Guard), Maya Moore (forward), Tina Charles (center)
19:38: Hofstra won opening tip-off but turned the ball over on a traveling call
18:54- Doty hits two free throws- 4-0 UConn
18:32- Evans called for traveling. Three Hofstra turnovers already
18:05- Bellochio with an amazing diving lay-up through the tough UConn defense- 5-2 UConn
17:35- Moore missed second free throw but UConn grabs rebound- 6-2 UConn
17:10- Fuller with rebound putback- 6-4 UConn
17:00- Hofstra caused turnover and calls timeout. Hofstra fans in attendance getting into it.
16:39- Charles with jumper- 8-4 UConn.
15:36- Hofstra freshman guard Candace Bond fires air ball in her first shot of the game
15:15- Media timeout- 8-4 UConn. Hofstra zone defense has been effective early on causing four Husky turnovers but the Pride have turned it over five times and have not been able to take advantage of the miscues.
15:05- Capurso drains three- 8-7 UConn
14:23- Evans went up strong but unable to draw a foul and get Hofstra the lead. Moore answers with jumper at the other end. 10-7 UConn
13:44- Moore drives to the hoop for a bucket after Hofstra turnover. 12-7 UConn. Timeout by Hofstra.
13:36- Hofstra can't handle UConn press and Doty converts steal into score- 14-7 UConn
13:12- Capurso misfires on three that bounces behind the basket.
13:03- Charles with bucket. UConn now on 10-0 run and leads 18-7
11:45- Brigham excites her local fans in attendance with bucket to end 12-0 UConn run and cut the lead to 20-9
11:41- Media Timeout. After Hofstra cut the lead to 8-7 and had a possession for the lead the Huskies have exploded with a 12-2 run to give them some breathing room toward the midway part of this half. The Huskies came into tonight's game outscoring its first three opponents by an average of 57 points including a 45 point win over 10th ranked Texas.
11:27- Joelle Connelly loses ball out off bounds. Pride's ninth turnover of game
10:43- Moore drives to bucket for score after Hofstra turns the ball over for 10th time. 24-9 UConn. Coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey calls timeout.
10:28- Fuller called for traveling
10:02- Moore with spectacular scoop shot over Bond off Hofstra turnover- 26-9 UConn
9:45- Fuller hits one of two free throws- 26-10 UConn
8:12- Fuller appeared to score inside but is called for traveling. 14th Hofstra turnover
7:56- Media timeout. Just got a note that the attendance for tonight's game is 8,498. UConn has an amazing following both for their men's and women's teams. Attendance was similar for the Hofstra men's basketball team's game at Gampel Pavilion last week where the Pride led by nine with nine minutes left before falling 76-67
6:55- Capurso all net from three point range to make it 26-13 UConn
6:37- Moore answers with three of her own. 29-13 UConn
5:18- Fuller goes off glass inside. 30-15 UConn
4:37- Moore hits one of two free throws. Has 16 points for game already. 31-15 UConn
4:29- Charles scored and gets fouled off steal. 35-15 UConn. Media Timeout. UConn now on 27-8 run since Hofstra had cut lead to 8-7
3:08- Fuller scores off a rebound- 36-17 UConn
2:38- Malone hits jumper from top of the key- 36-19 UConn. Pride on 4-0 run
2:01- Hayes hits open three pointer-39-19 UConn
23.2- Malone draws blocking foul and heads to the free throw line trying to cut into a 43-21 UConn lead
0.0- After Malone makes both free throws Hofstra holds UConn on final possession and heads into locker room trailing 43-23.
11:26- Kilburn-Steveskey calls timeout to keep Hofstra possession after Connelly was straddling the end line.
11:13- Bond scores from inside paint. 70-38 UConn
10:55- Media timeout. Hofstra has forced 17 UConn turnovers but has 27 of its own, although much of that can be attributed to how aggressive the Huskies play on defense and their skill level.
10:09- Fuller with nice block on Kali McClaren. She is having a solid game with seven points and five rebounds
10:03- Bellocchio hits two free throws. 70-40 UConn
8:40- Bond called for foul on Hayes, who went down hard.
8:32- Auriemma begins to empty his bench with a 74-40 lead. He is inching closer to career with number 700
6:58- Media timeout. 76-42 UConn. Game out of reach but the Pride have a chance to lose by less than the Huskies other three opponents as Northeastern fell by 70, Texas by 45 and Holy Cross by 53
6:25- Jenkins goes strong to the hoop off a UConn turnover to cut lead to 76-44
5:40- Hayes with three pointer- 81-44 UConn
4:06- Bond with steal but unable to knock down jumper
3:56- Media timeout with UConn leading 83-45. Hofstra continues to play hard despite outcome not being in doubt. Capurso leads Pride with nine points on three treys. The Pride will be right back on this court tomorrow to face Clemson at 5 p.m. and then conclude the weekend with a tilt against Richmond on Sunday at 2 p.m. Will be vital for the Pride to now have any form of a letdown tomorrow one day after facing the defending national champions. Clemson is coming off a surprising 86-67 loss in the first game of this evening WBCA Classic.
3:31- Evans went down to the floor and Kilburn-Steveskey runs onto the floor to attend to her. She gets up grabbing her face with a towel and sits down on bench. A hush has gone over this huge crowd of 8,498. Let's hope it is nothing serious as Hofstra cannot afford to lose this talented freshman who came into today's game with two double-doubles.
52.0- Jenkins draws foul going into the lane and hits one of two free throws. 89-46 UConn
0.0- Game ends and crowd holds up 700 signs in honor of the legendary UConn head coach getting this milestone win. Pride battled tough for much of this game but Huskies have far too much talent to keep up with. Will have some post game sound in a few minutes.
UConn press conference
Auriemma downplayed winning his 700th win. "I'm not a put it in perspective kind of guy," he said. "I don't concern myself with that kind of stuff."
He said first half was a challenge for both teams with numerous turnovers. "It was very difficult to generate any sort of flow in that first half," he said.
Hofstra press conference
Coach Kilburn-Steveskey said "I want to play the best of the best" to a question on why she scheduled UConn. She attributed the 32 turnovers her team had to too many travel calls and the physicality of UConn's play. She does know extent of Evans's injury but is hopeful she will be back for tomorrow's game. She also explained how she started to pull some her starters with about six minutes left in game to preserve energy for the next two days against Clemson and Richmond and players were very understanding of that decision.
"It was a great venue for my players to play in," she said of playing a team like UConn at Gampel Pavilion.