FORT MYERS, Fla. — Hofstra’s women’s basketball players had one good rally in them.
But not a second.
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That’s why Florida Gulf Coast University will move on to the Women’s National Invitational Final Four and not the Pride.
FGCU beat Hofstra 61-46 in the WNIT quarterfinal on Monday night before 3,307 fans at Alico Arena.
The Eagles (32-5) will play Michigan (21-13) in the WNIT semifinals on Thursday night.
After impressive victories over Harvard (76-50), Villanova (82-74) and Virginia (65-57), Hofstra’s season ended as they made just 17-of-58 shots (29.3 percent), 1-of-16 three-pointers and was outrebounded 52-35.
“We’re not used to that,” senior guard Darius Falk said.
Hofstra coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey said it wasn’t FGCU’s crowd as much as the Eagles’ defense, which is ranked among the best in the country.
“This team is smart and it’ll grind you,” she said. “We’ve played in front of big crowds before and we’ve won games when we haven’t shot well.
“But with how good they are, there’s not a lot of margin for effort.”
Kilburn-Steveskey thought her team had good shots but they just didn’t fall.
“They guarded us player for player,” she said.
Hofstra had little success scoring early on. Whitney Knight (16 points, 14 rebounds) and FGCU jumped out to a six-point lead, 8-2.
The Eagles kept the pressure on and went up 28-14 on a three-pointer by Kaneisha Atwater (19 points).
A layup in the final seconds of the first half by Aleana Leon cut the deficit to 35-20 and the Pride took that momentum into the third quarter.
A 12-3 run cut the deficit to 51-42 and another 8-4 spurt made it 45-40.
“Get a stop and score,” Falk said. “It just didn’t work out that way.”
The Eagles responded with a 7-0 run to push the lead back up to 12.
“Hofstra came at us hard in that third quarter, we didn’t have many stops,” FGCU coach Karl Smesko said. “But I thought we handled it pretty well. We regrouped at the end of the quarter and increased our defensive intensity.’
Falk and Anjie White led another balanced attack with 10 points each. Falk also had 10 rebounds.
Hofstra commited just eight turnovers and held FGCU to just 35.9 percent shooting (23-of-64).
“I’m proud of our team, we came back strong after losing in the first round of the conference tournament,” Falk said.