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WBB: Is it too early for NCAA tourney talk?

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

A month ago it was too early to talk about NCAA Tournament bids.

Now could be the time. The Hofstra women picked up a big 71-69 win against perennial NCAA Tournament contender Marist on Thursday. The Pride has already beaten Kansas State, St. John’s and Seton Hall and faces Ivy League power Princeton on Thursday.

“We need to keep moving from this and work from this,” said Hofstra coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey. “It’s a big step for our program against a team that has obviously won championships and has turned themselves around as a mid-major.”

Hofstra (9-2) hasn’t received any love nationally, but could if it can knock off the Princeton Tigers. Princeton has made the last two NCAA Tournaments and is the favorite to win the Ivy League for the third straight win.

If not for a gut-wrenching 61-59 loss at Hartford last week, the Pride might have gotten a few votes in the national polls. The lack of national attention notwithstanding, Kilburn-Steveskey is happy with the direction her team is headed.

“To me, it was a big statement for us,” said Kilburn-Steveskey. “We want to move forward and really open up our program.”

There’s still the matter of the CAA schedule, which includes two dates with No. 19 Delaware and star forward Elena Delle Donne. Towson and James Madison also figure to be a challenge. A top three finish and a decent run in the CAA tournament could me big things in the post season for the Pride.
 

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