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Frontline setbacks cost Hofstra in loss to Drexel

Hofstra Pride forward Anma Onyeuku goes up for

Hofstra Pride forward Anma Onyeuku goes up for the layup off a feed in the first half on Feb. 28, 2013. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. - It was not a good afternoon for Hofstra's two starting forwards in the quarterfinals of the Colonial Athletic Association women's basketball tournament.

Anma Onyeuku, the Pride's top scorer in regular-season play, was held to two points. Elo Edeferioka left the contest midway through the second half with a leg injury. And fifth-seeded Hofstra fell to fourth-seeded Drexel, 60-55, Friday at Show Place Arena in suburban Washington.

The Pride (14-15) had won both regular-season meetings by two points.

"As a coach, you can't make an excuse. That is why you have 13 players on the bench and try to go from there. It was unfortunate," Hofstra coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey said of losing Edeferioka, a 6-3 freshman who exited with six points.

"It just made us want to compete a little harder," Hofstra's Alexis Carter said of losing Edeferioka with 12:56 to play.

Hofstra, which trailed 18-3 early, battled back to tie the score at 34-34 on a basket by Carter with 12:30 left in the game. Drexel then went on an 11-0 run, taking a 45-34 lead with 6:59 left on a three-pointer by Meghan Creighton, who had 20 points. The Dragons, 16-for-20 from the foul line, made enough free throws down the stretch to post the win.

"They really came hard at us today. They were the aggressors from the start," Kilburn-Steveskey said. "Obviously, they had several games footage to try and use their zone. There were times there were three or four players [from Drexel] in the paint. They did a good job of clogging down the angles on us. That was their game plan."

It was the first meeting between the teams in a conference tournament since 2000, when they were members of the America East.

Hofstra got 15 points from Asia Jackson and 13 from fellow starting guard Carter. Ruth Sherrill scored 10 off the bench. But Onyeuku took only four shots and fellow senior Annie Payton had only six points. Each averaged more than 11 points in regular-season play.

Drexel (15-15) will face top-seeded James Madison (26-5) -- which beat UNC Wilmington, 69-56 -- in Saturday's semifinals.

The Pride missed its first six shots before going on a 9-0 run that cut its deficit to 18-12. Sherrill's basket in the closing seconds of the first half moved Hofstra within 23-19 even though the Pride shot 29.2 percent in the first half.

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