There is one missing ingredient from the resume of Hofstra women's basketball star Shante Evans: an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. A two-time honorable mention All-American, Evans hopes to cap her collegiate career by helping Hofstra make its first appearance in the Division I tournament.
"It's definitely a goal to go to the NCAAs. It's definitely our goal,'' said Evans, a 6-foot senior forward who led the team in scoring (19.2) and rebounding ( 10.5). "Our main goal is to win the CAA championship and get that bid.''
Evans has helped the Pride earn two WNIT bids, including last season, when the team finished 19-12.
The big obstacle is Delaware and its megastar, Elena Delle Donne, considered one of the top players in the nation. Evans and Hofstra beat Delaware and Delle Donne once in the last three years, but Evans said there is no frustration factor.
"It's more determination,'' she said. "Delaware's the team to beat, so it's definitely more determination. Of course I look forward to that matchup. I feel like everyone looks forward to those matchups. It's like two of the best players in the conference going against each other. I don't look at it as going against Delle Donne, more going against Delaware.''
Hofstra coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey said, "I know Shante is geared up and wants to be playing in that CAA final. She feels like she doesn't want to go through her career without a chance to be playing for that final and getting a bid . . . They all want to have a banner up there being the first in school history to get the NCAAs.''
Evans has worked on broadening her range, saying, "I definitely want to show more of my outside game. I can handle the ball and shoot the ball. I definitely want to show that more, make it harder to defend me.''
Forward Candace Bond, Hofstra's other returning senior, also wants to see Evans make the NCAAs. "She's an amazing player. She's put in so much work,'' she said. "I know talking to her that's something she really, really wants. I think it means a lot to her. This is her last year to try to do it.''
Kilburn-Steveskey's challenge is to identify players to help Evans and Bonds. Guard Andreana Thomas and guard/forward Annie Payton likely have nailed down starting jobs. Junior forward Anma Onyeuku also will see significant minutes. The coach is excited about freshman guards Asia Jackson and Alexis Carter and forward Dee Thomas-Palmer. Sydni Epps will spell Bond and senior forward Deven Green will push for minutes.