The Colonial Athletic Association is not expecting much from the Hofstra women’s basketball team this season, picking the Pride to finish ninth in the ten-team conference. That’s just fine with Hofstra, starting with coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey, who said she and her players are up for the challenge.
‘’We're going to have a chip on our shoulder and we had to fight for something, I'm not worried about a poll,’’ Kilburn-Steveskey (13th year, 202-176) said. “Are they supposed to pick us first when we won 11 games (last season)? We know why we only 11 games. We’re a heck of a lot better, but put your money where your mouth is...I would love for you to count us out and then we just got to be tough and we got a fight and we just going to take care of business because we're good enough to do that.’’
Hofstra will build around senior guard Boogie Brozoski, the former Lutheran High School star who transferred from Michigan and averaged a team-high 13.0 points and 3.9 assists in 20 games last season.
Kilburn-Steveskey has a big ask for Brozoski — make the players around her better. “She's going to get everything she needs to get if she realizes the more that she empowers the people around her the better we're going to be,’’ the coach said. “We need four people (to score) in doubles, she's going to be one of those. She's going to have nights where she scores in the twenties and that's going to be fine... She needs to be consistent, she needs to share the basketball, she needs to lead us and all kinds of aspects, not just necessarily in statistical categories. She needs to lead us by directing people, helping the freshmen, empowering other people to be great, staying positive.''
Brozoski said she is prepared to do what her coach wants. “Whether I’m the face of the program or not, everyone has their own pressures and outside expectations,’’ she said. “So, it's not really about me at this point. It’s about us as a team and what I can do to help everyone else to play better. I'm looking forward to how we play together as a team.
“We want people to think that we're the lowest team in the league and I can just come in and roll over us because that is not even the case at all. We're working three times harder than all of the teams in this league. We've got a great group of freshmen that came in that are going to be great additions to the team. I really and truly believe it doesn't matter where we are in the poll it's how we come out and play and how we prove to others we're not a team to take for granted.''
Junior guard Petja Krupenko added, “You could show them that you're better than them. Being an underdog is not a bad thing. We are an eager team, we know how we play, I think that's only a motivation for us. I think we can be one of the best teams,’’
After Brozoski, Hofstra has solid starters in guard E’Lexus Davis (8.3 ppg, 3.0 reb) and forward Marianne Kalin (8.4, 5.7). Guard-forward Sica Cuzic and forwards Sandra Karstein and Jaylen Hines will see plenty of action.
OTHERS TO WATCH
Petja Krupenko, 5-8, G
Junior will see increased time when Pride employs a three-guard offense, Kilburn-Steveskey said. A tempo-setter alongside Brozoski and Davis. Averaged 19.2 points for her high school team in Slovenia. Also played on her country’s under-18 national team in 2015.
JaKayla Brown, 5-10, G
A freshman, she scored 1,485 points in her high school career at St, Mary’s Ryken in Maryland. McDonald’s All-American nominee in her senior year. Three-time All-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference all-star.
Jaylen Hines, 5-10, F
Did not play last season as a freshman due to injury. Averaged 13.5 points and grabbed over 1,000 rebounds in her high school career in Clinton, Maryland.