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WBB: Tough non-conference schedule has Pride ready

Hofstra forward Shante Evans looks to pass as

Hofstra forward Shante Evans looks to pass as Harvard forward Emma Golen defends. (March 15, 2012) (Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke)

The record (3-7) is nothing to write home about, but you can’t deny Hofstra’s non-conference schedule was as brutal as they come for a mid-major.

In addition to playing Texas and then-No. 20 St. John’s, the Pride has faced Marist, Harvard, Princeton, Auburn, Mississippi and Northwestern. We can’t forget about St. Joseph’s or Stetson.

The combined record of those opponents: 67-40. Four of those opponents –St. John’s, Texas, Princeton, Marist– made the NCAA Tournament last season.

It doesn’t take rocket science to figure that the Pride were going to experience a rough road at times. Hofstra coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey had to replace an experienced back court.

Sophomore Andreana Thomas, who replaced four-year letter winner Candice Bellocchio at the point, has been the main ball handler, with freshman guard Asia Jackson learning on the fly.

Playing against perennial NCAA Tournament teams St. John’s, Texas and Marist is sure to help the Pride once the CAA season begins on January 6.

The good news is senior forward Shante Evans (17.1 ppg, 11.1 reb) and senior guard Candace Bond (7.2 ppg, 3.9 reb, 2.9 stl) has both put forth a steady effort. Add to that the solid play of juniors Anma Onyeuku (9.6 ppg, 6.2 reb) and Annie Payton (8.6 ppg) and the Pride has enough talent and experience to turn in a decent CAA season.

Hofstra had a good weekend with wins over Mississippi and Northwestern. The win over Mississippi was just Hofstra’s second over an SEC team.

The Pride is back in action on January 3, when it hosts Norfolk State at the Mack Sports Complex.