Hofstra Basketball: CAA Season in Review
The Hofstra Pride men’s and women’s basketball teams had two very different seasons. While the men went on a 16 game winning streak and received national attention along with the top seed in the CAA tournament, the women had a rough season and ended up with the ninth seed in the tournament, but still made some noise.
Led by CAA Player of the Year and Jerry West award finalist Justin Wright-Foreman, the Pride finished the regular season with a 25-6 record going 15-3 in the conference. After a two-point overtime loss to VCU, the team embarked on the longest winning streak in the nation at the time, winning 16 straight including their first nine games of conference play. The streak was snapped in a 75-61 loss at Northeastern. After the loss, the Pride went 6-2 down the stretch and won the conference regular season title after defeating Drexel 80-77 in their second to last game of the season.
In the tournament, the Pride began by defeating James Madison 76-67 in a game that had five players scoring in double figures. With the win, Hofstra moved on to the semifinals to face the University of Delaware. Justin Wright-Foreman scored a CAA tournament record 42 points to lead the Pride to a 78-74 overtime victory. The rest of the team combined for just 36 points. No matter, the Pride were on to the championship game where they faced the team that ended their streak, the Northeastern Huskies.
After a brutal first half, where the Pride shot below 30 percent from the field, Northeastern had a 16 point lead. In the second half, the Pride offense came alive, cutting down the deficit and even tying the game at 54 just past the halfway point of the half. However, their defense didn’t adjust, especially to Vasa Pusica who hit five of his seven three-pointers in the second half. The Pride came up short, losing 82-74.
The team now turns its attention to the National Invitational Tournament where they will face NC State in the first round on Tuesday in the last hurrah for seniors Justin Wright-Foreman, Jacquil Taylor, Dan Dwyer and Kenny Wormly.
Despite a disappointing season, the women’s team made some noise in the CAA tournament. The Pride went 9-21 overall in the regular season, with only three wins in conference. Led by Boogie Brozoski, the team had little else around her in terms of scoring while Sica Cuzic missed time with an injury. When together, the two were forces averaging 16.2 and 9.1 points per game, respectively although the team wasn’t able to win very often.
The team was able to avoid the bottom seed in the tournament, coming in at number nine, and faced Elon in the first round, a team that had defeated the Pride by three just six days before. Hofstra came out firing in the first quarter and took a nine-point lead into the first break. They would be outscored in every quarter after, however, but hung on for a two-point win, 77-75. Boogie Brozoski scored a ridiculous 42 points, including her 1,000 career point on a free throw in the fourth quarter. Her point performance broke the Hofstra single-game record, CAA tournament single-game record and the Bob Carpenter Center single-game record. She also hit her 39th straight free throw and had her sixth straight perfect game from the stripe.
The Pride moved on to face top-seeded James Madison who outscored them a combined 136-98 in their two regular season matchups. Hofstra went into the half down ten but started the third quarter on a 20-2 run, including 17 straight, to give them an eight-point lead. They kept it going in the fourth and finished with the biggest upset in CAA history, 57-50. The game marked the first time the one seed had been eliminated in the quarterfinals in CAA history and snapped JMU’s 13-game winning streak. They were led by Freshman JaKayla Brown who had 17 points in a breakout game. Next up for the Pride was Towson.
This game was quick and the Pride were downed easily, 69-48 by the eventual tournament champions. Another underclassman, Jaylen Hines, led the Pride in scoring with 17 points. Boogie Borzoski finished her college career making her last 48 free throws.
The women’s team will be losing it’s two leaders, Boogie Brozoski and Sica Cuzic, and will need players to step up. If the tournament is any indication, those players could be Jaylen Hines and JaKayla Brown. If they can become the next dynamic duo, the team should be in good hands moving forward.
Both Hofstra Pride basketball teams had successes this year in different ways. The men got national recognition for the nation’s longest win streak at the time while the women made a few upsets in their tournament. As another season of Pride basketball comes to a close, one thing is for certain, Hofstra will always surprise you.