Hofstra women’s basketball eager for Monday’s season opener

With nearly a month of practices under their belt and scrimmages against each other, the Hofstra women’s basketball team is more than ready for its 2009/2010 regular season to get underway this Monday evening at home against Buffalo. The Nov. 16 opener launches a highly competitive 30-game schedule and with three of five starters returning, head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey is optimistic that success will come the Pride’s way in 2009/2010.

“After 27 practices you are ready to bang on someone else,” said Coach Kilburn-Steveskey of the excitement of her players to start competing against other teams. “We’re ready to get it rolling.”

Last season Hofstra won at Buffalo 80-73 in overtime with then freshman Joelle Connelly scoring a tying bucket at the buzzer. Coach Kilburn-Steveskey expects another barn burner this season with Buffalo returning its core nucleus including Kourtney Brown, who scored 29 points against Hofstra in the Dec. 6, 2008 match-up.

“It is going to be an up-tempo game and it’s going to be a battle,” said Kilburn-Steveskey. “It’s going to be a good test early for the first game.”

Kilburn-Steveskey has been impressed early on with the play of freshman forward Shante Evans and is still trying to determine if she will start the first game or be a sixth player off the bench. Either way the West Chester, Pa. native will receive plenty of playing time due to her offensive skills and versatile defensive ability that includes being able to defend either forwards or guards. Kilburn-Steveskey said the likely starting lineup for Monday will consist of red-shirt sophomore point guard Candice Bellocchio, guards Sam Brigham and Nicole Capurso, Connelly at forward and senior center Jess Fuller, but could change by game time and throughout the season depending on match-ups.

When Hofstra tips off against Buffalo at 7 pm. Monday night it will begin a busy seven-game stretch for the month of November. Whatever the early results are for the Pride, Coach Kilburn-Steveskey would like to see her team start to master a transition style offense that she would like to become the staple of this deep athletic team.

“I want to see us attacking and hitting quick hitters instead of relying on running a million sets,” she said. “I want to see our offense flow.”

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