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Hofstra defeats Virginia heads to WNIT quarterfinals

Hofstra Pride guard Darius Faulk is defended by

Hofstra Pride guard Darius Faulk is defended by Virginia Cavaliers guard Faith Randolph in a college basketball game during the third round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament at David S. Mack Sports Complex, Hofstra University, on Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Darius Faulk stole Virginia’s ball on its final possession and dribbled out the clock at the Mack Sports Complex — an exclamation point on a Hofstra win to remember.

Virginia owned the bigger name and the bigger team with eight 6-footers on the roster. But Hofstra had the better defense, and it was at its best when needed the most.

The Pride made seven of its 16 steals in the fourth quarter and forced 25 turnovers overall leading to 31 points on the way to beating the Cavaliers of the ACC, 65-57, Tuesday night in the WNIT’s version of the Sweet 16.

“What a phenomenal win, not only for Hofstra University first, but for the CAA,” coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey said.

The Pride women are 25-8 and bound for the quarterfinals, the program’s first trip that far since 2007. They will now play away on a date to be determined against the winner of Wednesday night’s Florida Gulf Coast-Tulane game.

“We’re excited and we think it’s cool, but we’re having fun and just playing,” said Anjie White, who contributed 13 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals. “I don’t think we were ever worrying, like, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re going to play Virginia,’ or whoever it is.”

Virginia (18-16) tied it at 51 after Lauren Moses, who scored a game-high 16 points, made a layup with 6:13 left.

Then the Pride forced back-to-back turnovers, leading to fast-break layups by Aleana Leon, who paced Hofstra with 15 points. The Pride outscored the Cavaliers 22-0 on fast breaks.

White hit a jumper to make it 57-53. Kelly Loftus followed with a steal and a layup for a six-point advantage. White nailed another jumper. It was 61-53 with 2:31 remaining.

“During the postseason, I really have to learn when it’s my time to score and when is it to help my teammates,” White said.

The Cavs couldn’t get it under six from there.

“We ran up against a team that was ready to play and focused,” Virginia coach Joanne Boyle said. “I don’t feel we were as sharp as we’d been in the first two games.”

Hofstra scored the first seven of the third, opening a 38-28 lead, before the Cavaliers cut it to 47-44 heading for the fourth. But the Pride of the CAA wasn’t intimidated by the ACC women in this third round.

“They’re human,” White said. “They make mistakes, too.”

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