Nicole Capurso was not slotted into the Hofstra women’s basketball starting lineup for Tuesday night game against Providence but once she entered the court the Friars did not have an answer for her. The sophomore shooting guard tied her career high with 23 points including five three pointers to lead Hofstra to a 72-68 win over the Big East foe in front of 471 fans at the Mack Sports Complex.
Capurso seemed like she couldn’t miss at times shooting 53% from the floor including 46% from beyond the arc. Her final basket came on a three pointer with 7:43 left that gave Hofstra its largest lead of the second half 60-53 and the Pride managed to survive a late Providence rally for the important win that snaps a three-game losing streak.
“I think every single shot I take is going in,” said Capurso of her mindset before every game. “That is my downfall and my blessing.”
The win over Providence (7-2) was Hofstra’s first home regular season victory over a Big East opponent since joining the Division I ranks in the 1982/83 season. More importantly it gives the Pride (4-3) confidence that it can close out a quality opponent after losing late leads to Clemson and Richmond in back-to-back one-point losses during Thanksgiving weekend at the WBCA Classic in Storrs, Conn.
The Providence game was Hofstra’s first since the second of those two crushing defeats on Nov. 29 so the Pride had plenty of time to reflect and were ready to hit the floor running. “We could have been playing any kind of team tonight they were getting it especially the first four minutes because we were so damn excited,” said red-shirt sophomore point guard Candice Bellocchio, who tallied 10 points including six of seven from the free throw line. “It was a tough week of practice and that definitely prepared us for this game.”
The win over Providence begins a busy week for Hofstra as it has two more games on Thursday night at 7 p.m. at home against Niagara and a short road trip to Manhattan College on Saturday. The Pride will then break for final exams before returning to the court at home against Stony Brook in a battle for Long Island bragging rights on Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.