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Local hoops: Week in review

Hofstra women's basketball player Shante Evans against St.

Hofstra women's basketball player Shante Evans against St. John's in a game played at the Mack Sports Complex. Brian Ballweg/Hofstra Athletics (Nov. 18, 2011) Photo Credit: Hofstra Athletics/Brian Ballweg

Many of our local men’s teams struggled last week. Hofstra and Stony Brook both lost in the waning seconds of their only games last week, while LIU had a positive week, winning two of three contests. Don’t expect the tough times to continue for the Pride or the Seawolves.

On the women’s side, Hofstra continued its torrid run with wins over Seton Hall and Georgia State, while St. John’s seems to have righted the ship with wins over Howard and Hartford. Stony Brook’s lack of depth took its toll in losses to Ohio State and Sacred Heart.

LIU (4-4, 2-0 NEC) is back on track and showed it is still the team to beat in the NEC with wins over Wagner and Mount St. Mary’s last week. One of the most important parts of LIU’s resurgence has been the play of Julian Boyd. After a slow start, the junior forward has caught fire and is averaging nearly 15 points and 10 rebounds over his last five games. He had 22 points and 13 boards in Saturday’s win over Mt. St. Mary’s. Junior forward Jamal Olasewere has been a rock for LIU. He’s averaging 18.2 points and seven rebounds over his last four games. Schedule for the week: @ Lafayette, Mon. Dec 5; @ Columbia, Saturday, Dec. 10.

Hofstra (3-5, 0-1, CAA) has had some issues lately and has dropped four of its last five. The good news is the Pride has been in every game. Saturday’s 62-60 loss to James Madison came in dramatic fashion. It’s also evident that senior guard Mike Moore is a primetime player. Moore had 24 in the loss to James Madison and 27 the game before against Boston University. Nathaniel Lester, Hofstra’s second leading scorer, has been in foul trouble a little too much this season. When he’s on the court he’s very effective. He struggled and scored just seven points in Saturday’s loss to James Madison. But that was an aberration. Schedule for the week: @ Wagner, Tuesday, Dec. 6; vs. Manhattan, Saturday, Dec. 10.

Like the Pride, Stony Brook (2-4) has hit a rough patch. But also like Hofstra, Stony Brook has been in every game. Saturday’s loss to Eastern Illinois came in the final two minutes. The Seawolves probably took more three-pointers (7-for-29) than coach Steve Pikiell would’ve liked. But he had to be pleased with the play of senior forward Al Rapier, who had 19 points on 9-for-12 shooting and nine rebounds in the loss. Rapier was fresh off a nine-point, four-rebound effort against Northwestern. Junior guard Leonard Haynes may also have found his stroke. He only shot 3-for-12, but scored eight points. Hayes had 12 points in the loss to Northwestern. Schedule for the week: vs. FDU, Wednesday, Dec. 7; @ Boston College, Sunday, Dec. 11.

St. John’s (4-4) struggled on both sides of the ball in Thursday’s loss to Kentucky. It was the fourth loss in five games for the Red Storm. But these struggles were expected. The Red Storm has been without head coach Steve Lavin on the sideline for the last three games and are starting five first-year Division I players. The one positive the Red Storm can take away from the last two games is the play of God’sgift Achiuwa, who had 18 points and 10 rebounds against the Wildcats. The 6-8 junior had 17 points and nine rebounds in the Red Storm’s previous loss to Northeastern. Moe Harkless also played a solid game against Kentucky with 16 points and 10 rebounds. The freshman swingman did have five turnovers, a facet of his game he must work on. Schedule for the week: @ Detroit, Monday, Dec. 5.

WOMEN

Hofstra (6-1, 1-0 CAA) is one of the hottest teams in the tri-area right now with wins over Seton Hall (94-74) and Georgia State (86-71) last week. Thanks to its depth, the Pride’s offense has been all but unstoppable lately. Nicole Capurso was the toast of the Pride as she eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau in Sunday’s win over Georgia State. The senior guard had 20 points in that game. Capurso also had 20 points against Seton Hall. The strength of Hofstra’s depth has allowed coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey not to overplay junior forward Shante Evans. Evans played just 17 minutes against Seton Hall, as the Pride had five players score in double figures. The Pride has also gotten a solid performance from reserve forward Deven Green, who has combined for 19 points and 12 rebounds her last two games. Schedule for the week: @ Hartford, Wednesday, Dec. 7.

It’s official. St. John’s (5-3), winners of three straight is on a roll. The Red Storm got a huge performance from freshman forward Amber Thompson, who had career highs of 19 points and 13 rebounds in Sunday’s 70-45 blowout of Hartford. Thompson is averaging 13 points and seven rebounds over her last three games, including a 12-point, three-rebound effort against Temple. North Babylon graduate Eugeneia has really taken on a leadership role lately and is averaging 14 points and four rebounds over her last three games. St. John’s received some great news over weekend as injured senior forward Da’Shena Stevens (knee) was cleared to practice. It’s not clear when she will return to the floor, but just her presence will give the Red Storm a boost. Schedule for the week: @ DePaul, Wednesday, Dec.7; vs. Baylor (MSG), Sunday, Dec. 11.

Stony Brook (1-5) had no answers in last week’s, 55-33, loss to Sacred Heart. But much of that is due to a lack of depth. Stony Brook has been blown out of its last two games after playing well in its first four games. In fact, the Seawolves had 10-point halftime leads in losses to Iona and George Mason. Seawolves coach Beth O’Boyle is still searching for that go-to player. If O’Boyle can find that player, the Seawolves won’t be an easy out when conference play begins. Schedule for the week: @ Rider, Tuesday, Dec.6; vs. LIU, Thursday, Dec.8; vs. Fordham, Sunday, Dec. 11.
 

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