It was a great week for the locals, especially Hofstra and Stony Brook. Both schools have embarked on winning streaks that they hope will carry over into the conference season. LIU has won three straight, while St. John’s had a decent showing against UConn.
Hofstra (6-7) has caught fight in recent weeks, winning three in a row. The biggest victory was an 83-75 win over Iona last Thursday. It was the best overall performance of the season for the Pride. Hofstra’s brilliant play starts at the point guard position. Dwan McMillan is averaging 12.6 points and 7.6 assists in Hofstra’s three wins. More importantly, he’s doing this while playing a high volume of minutes. Mike Moore has also been a rock. The 6-5 senior averaged 26.6 points over the three victories. Schedule for the week: vs. VCU, Mon.,Jan.2; @ Delaware, Wed., Jan.4; @ UNC-Wilmington, Sat., Jan. 7.
LIU (8-6) joins Hofstra as arguably the hottest team in the region. Junior forward Julian Boyd has especially been hot with games of 29, 22 and 22 points over his last three games. His season averages are up to 16.5 points and 9.4 rebounds. Jamal Olasewere, who was hot for a large portion of December, has slowed down a but the last two weeks, but that is mostly due to Boyd’s emergence. But Olasewere did had 15 points and 10 rebounds in LIU’s win over NJIT on Friday. Schedule for the week: @ Quinnipiac, Sat., Jan 7.
St. John’s (7-6) loss at Connecticut shouldn’t be considered a set back. It was probably too much to ask a squad with just seven players to win in Storrs. St. John’s has actually played well recently, winning three of its last four, including a 91-67 shellacking of Providence last Tuesday. Freshman forward Mo Harkless has the tools to be a superstar. He had 32 points on 14-for-17 shooting against Providence and 16 points on 5-for-11 shooting and six rebounds against Connecticut. D’Angelo Harrison is no slouch either. The 6-3 freshman had 25 vs. Providence and 17 points, five rebounds and four assists against Connecticut. It might be too much to ask of two freshmen, but they will have to carry the load this season. Schedule for the week: vs. Louisville, Tues., Jan. 3; @ Cincinnati, Sat., Jan. 7.
Stony Brook (5-6) got the two wins it needed, beating Cornell and Rider in consecutive home contests. Dave Coley has found his stroke recently and has reached double figures in four of his last five games. He had 16 on 7-for-12 shooting in the win over Rider. He had 17 in a loss to Rutgers at the Garden. Dallis Joyner found his offense against Rider with 15 points on 5-for-6 shooting. Joyner’s solid play in the paint made things easier for the Stony Brook shooters in its 79-62 win. The Seawolves shot 49 percent from the field in the win. If Coley continues his hot play and Joyner can draw defenders in the paint, things will be a lot easier for sharpshooter Bryan Dougher. Schedule for the week: vs. Vermont, Mon. Jan 2; @ Binghamton, Thurs., Jan 5; vs. Albany, Sun. Jan. 8.
On the outskirts: Iona (10-3) losing to the Hofstra wasn’t the worst thing in the world, but the Gaels need to shore things up defensively. Wagner (10-3) is also a hot squad with wins over Pittsburgh, Air Force and Santa Clara in the last week.
Hofstra (9-3) suffered a minor setback against Princeton last Thursday, but that loss shouldn’t take away from a strong non-conference showing. Nicole Capurso found the range in a big way against Princeton. Capurso’s career high of 24 points helped pick up the slack left by Shante Evans, struggled with foul problems. Although no loss is ever a good thing, the Pride still had four players in double figures, including senior forward Marie Malone (10 pts, 7 rebounds). Schedule for the week: vs. Drexel, Thurs. Jan 5; @ William & Mary, Sun., Jan. 8.
St. John’s (8-6) had an easy time beating a decent Boston University team. The better news was that the Red Storm had its entire roster and starting lineup together and healthy for the first time all season. Both Nadirah McKenith and Da’Shena Stevens started for St. John’s. With its starting five intact, the Big East schedule doesn’t seem so daunting now. In McKenith’s and Stevens’ absence North Babylon graduate Eugeneia McPherson has emerged as a solid scorer. She’s averaging 15.5 points over her last four games. Schedule for the week: vs. Providence, Wed. Jan 4; vs. No.14 Louisville, Sun, Jan. 8.
Stony Brook (3-10) has won two in a row. Their latest victory was a 54-47 triumph against Youngstown State. It’s been all about defense for the Seawolves, who are giving up just 54 points per game. Until coach Beth O’Boyle can find a consistently productive rotation, the Seawolves will need to bring the defensive intensity every night. Kellie Krueger averaged 11 points in the two wins. Outside of that, it’s been scoring by committee for the Seawolves. Not having a true go-to player, although not the best thing in the world, could make Stony Brook difficult to defend. Opponents can never be sure which player will have it. Schedule for the week: @ Vermont, Mon., Jan. 2; vs. Binghamton, Thurs., Jan., 5; vs. Albany, Sun., Jan.8.
On the outskirts: LIU (12-2) is still riding a hot streak, while Fordham (8-5) is still hanging tough.