Hofstra coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey
The Hofstra women won again as sophomore guard Nicole Capurso hit a layup with two seconds left in overtime to lift the Pride to a 68-67 road win over Drexel in a CAA game on Sunday.
Capurso’s layup gave Hofstra (16-11, 9-6 CAA) its fifth win in its last six games. It also halted Drexel’s six-game winning streak against the Pride and ended the Dragons’ 21-game home win streak against CAA teams.
Most importantly, the win kept the Pride alive for a WNIT bid. Hofstra is currently tied with Delaware (17-9, 9-6) for fifth place in the CAA. They trail fourth-place James Madison by one game and VCU, which is tied for second with Drexel, by two games. Finishing in the top four in the CAA is important for Hofstra, which would get a first-round bye.
Hofstra already has wins over James Madison and VCU and has split with Drexel. The Pride has one more game with Delaware. The bottom line: Hofstra needs to win its last three games (at Towson, home vs. Northeastern, at Delaware) for a chance.
It won’t be an easy road for the Pride, which lost to Towson and Northeastern already this season. But the way they’ve played the last couple of games, there’s no reason to think they can’t win against both teams and enter the Delaware contest with an 18-11 overall record and an 11-6 conference mark.
There is also the idea that the Pride can make a run and actually win the CAA Tournament. Hofstra fell to conference leader Old Dominion by just five points when they met in January. Considering the Pride has wins against three of the top four teams in the conference, a run to the CAA title game is not out of the question.
Does Hofstra have what it takes to do that ?
“It's up to them." Krista Kilburn Steveskey told 88.7 WRHU after the game. "We know what we're capable of. Physically we can go out and match up against anybody in this league...We've been able to compete against people."
As for any at-large bid possibilities, the CAA has an RPI rank of eighth, which means it won’t be out of realm to see two of its teams get an NCAA bid and at least two more get an NIT berth.
Last year the CAA got two NCAA bids, but just one NIT berth. In 2008 the CAA got two teams into the NIT, but sent just one (Old Dominion) to the NCAA Tournament. The big year was 2007 when the CAA got three teams in the NCAA Tournament (Delaware, James Madison, Old Dominion) and one team –Hofstra– in the NIT. Hofstra also made a NIT appearance in 2006.
Photo credit: Newsday / Patrick E. McCarthy