The Hofstra women’s basketball team is all in all having a very successful 2010/11 season so far with an 8-4 record, but three straight tight heart-wrenching losses on the road in the past week create extra importance for Thursday’s Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) opener against Towson.
After winning eight straight following a season-opening loss to Virginia, Hofstra dropped back-to-back two point losses to San Diego and Cincinnati at the Maggie Dixon Surf ‘N Slam Classic and then lost a 16 point second half lead in a 71-66 defeat at Delaware in the CAA opener Sunday. Despite the three stinging defeats that occurred with some players sick and in the midst of constant travel, the Pride are in positive spirits heading into Thursday, according to head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey.
"We just hit a bit of a bump in the road and faced some adversity and we just have to re-group as a whole” said Coach Kilburn-Steveskey. “They know that we are doing some good things and we just have to put it all together.”
Kilburn-Steveskey said that Hofstra’s newly instituted fast-paced Paul Westhead style offense has taken a toll in the last few games as more teams decide to match up in a zone defense. “We’re back to square one a little bit going against a zone and now that is all we are going to focus on this week,” said Kilburn-Steveskey.
If Hofstra is going to make a run at its first NCAA Tournament it will need to do so without the services of junior center Marie Malone, who is set to have season-ending surgery on Jan. 13 after she suffered a leg injury in practice before the Pride’s Dec. 5 game against Fairfield. Coach Kilburn-Steveskey said she is hopeful that Malone, who already sat out one season two years ago after transferring from West Virginia, will be granted a medical red-shirt.
Another injury facing Hofstra is 5’10 freshman guard Jackie Michel. The Christ the King product has been hobbled by a torn meniscus suffered in the fall.
Hofstra was picked by coaches to finish fourth in the CAA and Coach Kilburn-Steveskey expects many hard battles the next two months in an effort to finish in the top four and receive a first round bye in the conference tournament. “We’re going to beating up on everyone every night,” she said. “We’ve just go learn enough through the course of this conference season to finish in that top four to give us a chance to compete for that tournament.”