■ 20 January 2013 | 12:37 PM
Old Dominion at Hofstra
ODU's record: 12-4, 3-1 in Colonial Athletic Association play
Hofstra’s record: 7-8, 3-1 in CAA play
ODU's RPI: 115
Hofstra’s RPI: 149
Projected starting lineups
Ashley Betz-White (5-4 So.) 6.3 ppg, 2.2 apg, 2.1 spg vs. Andreana Thomas (5-4 So.) 9.3 ppg, 5.6 apg, 3.7 rpg
Rebecca Allison (5-8 Jr.) 4.9 ppg, 1.9 apg, 2.0 rpg vs. Candace Bond (5-10 Sr.) 6.8 ppg, 1.8 apg, 4.4 rpg
Jackie Cook (6-0 Sr.) 14.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.9 spg vs. Deven Green (5-11 Sr.) 4.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg
Shae Kelley (6-1 So.) 11.8 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 2.4 spg, 1.3 bpg vs. Shante Evans (6-0 Sr.) 16.1 ppg, 10.5 rpg
Shakeva Richards (6-2 Jr.) 2.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg vs. Anma Onyeuku (5-10 Jr.) 9.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg
ODU will battle for the third spot in the CAA standings today against a Pride squad that has won six of its last seven games. Hofstra lost its last CAA game to Drexel, which is second in the CAA behind Delaware.
The Pride squandered a 15-point lead in the road loss to Drexel and will come into Hempstead with something to prove. That will make things tough for the Lady Monarchs, who cruise into New York after an easy win against UNC-Wilmington, but have been on the road since Wednesday and might struggle with energy out of the gate in the final outing of their road stint.
Shante Evans has been a machine for Hofstra, and a mixture of Shae Kelley, Mairi Buchan and Shakeva Richards will hope to combat her double-double average. Evans set Hofstra’s all-time scoring record in a win against George Mason and will pose problems down low for ODU. She has been the team’s leading scorer 10 times this season and its leading rebounder in 12 of 15 contests.
Point guard Andreana Thomas runs the show for the Pride and has been tremendously effective in that regard. Her overall shooting numbers aren’t great, but she is the team’s leading 3-point shooter, and she dishes out about six assists per game while averaging nearly five minutes more on the floor than any other Hofstra player.
But point guard might be the Pride’s greatest weakness. Thomas turns the ball over 5.3 times per game, and with a mix of guards on her, the sophomore might squander more opportunities than her team can afford.
Hofstra runs eight players deep, but other than freshman Asia Jackson, no one outside the starting lineup has attempted more than 50 shots. If ODU can clamp down on the starting unit and its sixth man, the Lady Monarchs have a chance of wearing down Evans & Co. and remaining undefeated in road games this season.
The key to this game will be persistent pressure on Evans down low and guards Ashley Betz-White and Galaisha Goodhope taking advantage of Thomas’ turnover-prone style. There are plenty of reasons to think ODU could let this one slip away: Hofstra comes in with a chip on its shoulder, the Pride were on a tear before the slipup against Drexel and the Lady Monarchs could start slow thanks to the rigors of traveling.
However, depth and discipline play in ODU’s favor. In games where that has been the case, the Lady Monarchs have prevailed. And, more importantly, this team has proven road environments do little to stop its full-go style of play. Just ask Georgia State.
Prediction: ODU 58, Hofstra 52
-- Sean Morrison --