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Long Island supremacy is at stake Wednesday when Hofstra kicks off the first in a three-game homestand against Stony Brook.
Wednesday’s home-opener for the Pride comes after a pair of games in Connecticut: a 43-41 win at Hartford, and a 71-44 loss at Sacred Heart.
“Sacred Heart came out aggressive and came out ready to play,” said after the game, per Hofstra athletics. “The team didn’t give up, but we didn’t give our best effort in terms of effort and energy.”
Getting out to a stronger start then Sunday’s 17-7 first quarter will be key against a Stony Brook bunch that flourished after intermission in each of its season-opening wins. The Seawolves outscored Saint Francis Brooklyn in the second half, 53-38, and rallied against Manhattan with a 32-24 second-half advantage.
Who: Stony Brook (2-0) at Hofstra (1-0)
Where: David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex
When: Wednesday, Nov. 13, 7 p.m. ET
Watch: LIVE on FloHoops
Stony Brook At A Glance
The Seawolves tipped off 2019-20 fresh from the second-most winning season in program history. Their 23-8 finish was the best since going 24-9 in 2013-14, though produced no postseason.
The 2019-20 squad is expected to continue the positive trend, picked second in the America East Conference preseason poll behind unanimous favorite Maine. With 1st Team All-America East preseason honoree India Pagan coming off a 12.1-point, 6-rebound per game campaign, Stony Brook integrates some established playmakers with fresh faces.
Among the newcomers is guard Kaela Hilaire, a graduate transfer from Seton Hall. Hilaire’s off to hot start, leading the balanced Seawolves scoring attack through the very early going.
Seawolves On Offense
Stony Brook played its way to 23 wins last season with unselfish ball movement that resulted in 68 percent of the team’s made baskets coming off assists.
That number is under 50 percent through the Seawolves’ first two games of 2019-20, but one contributing factor is their points off turnovers. They have 42 combined in their wins, effectively turning a stifling defense into offensive production.
Stony Brook’s also scoring with balance through the early going. Hilaire’s 15.5-point per game sets the pace, but none of the five starters scored fewer than 17 in the first two outings.
Hilaire sets the table when she’s not scoring, having dished out 13 assists to tip off the campaign. Cheyenne Clark provides a reliable presence on the interior, shooting 50 percent from the floor to start.
Seawolves On Defense
At 56.8 points per game allowed per game a season ago, Stony Brook ranked No. 23 in the nation — just 0.2 points a game fewer than powerhouse UConn.
Aggressiveness on the ball sets the tone for the defense this season. Hilaire and Clark have both generated six steals to start the campaign, with Pagan snagging five.
Hofstra At A Glance
The Pride aim to defy expectations in 2019-20. Knocking off a quality Stony Brook bunch would make a significant statement for a team picked to finish at the bottom of the Colonial Athletic Association.
In here first season as Hofstra head coach, Santos Atkinson has a young lineup. Sophomore JaKayla Brown and freshman Sorelle Ineza lead the Pride in scoring through two games, along with a veteran holdover who started a season ago, Ana Hernandez Gil.
Pride On Offense
Jump-starting the offense as the season progresses will be of paramount importance for the Pride. Hofstra’s shot just 25.4 percent from the floor as a team and committed 21 turnovers.
Although Hofstra has missed shots collectively, the Pride have cleaned the offensive glass effectively with 37 boards on that end thus far. That’s a marked improvement over a season ago, when opponents outrebounded the Pride 1,251-to-1,081.
Brown’s ability to get offensive rebounds and get to the free throw line have been some of the more effective elements to the Hofstra offense in the early going.
Replacing the scoring touch of Boogie Brozoski, who averaged 16.2 points and hit 56 3-pointers in 2018-19, is one of the more important developments of Hofstra’s non-conference slate.
Pride On Defense
Last season, Hofstra finished in the middle of the CAA in scoring defense, allowing 65.7 points per game. The Pride held opponents to just 30.5 percent shooting from long range, but gave up 42.3 percent shooting overall from the floor; that was next-to-worst in the conference.
Opponents’ success against Hofstra on the boards played a critical part in that. Denying looks at the rim is one phase of an improved defense in 2019-20; keeping teams from getting second and third shots is the other.
Jaylen Hines, E’Lexus Davis and Hernandez Gil combined for 69 steals a season ago.