Cody Norman, Staff Writer

Since rattling off six wins in eight games to open up the 2009-10 campaign, the women’s basketball team has gone cold. Their offense has stammered as the Patriots have only topped the 60-point mark once in their last 11 outings and have notched an ugly 2-11 record.

Although they have played extremely well at home this season, notching an 8-4 record, the Patriots have recorded only one win against their conference opponents.

“We have somehow gotten so focused on the fact that we don’t hit shots that we’re not defending as well as I thought we had earlier in the season,” said Head Coach Jeri Porter of her team’s recent defensive woes. “I thought we were a good defensive basketball team and here in the last couple games, we just have not defended very well at all.”

In Thursday night’s Colonial Athletic Association matchup with the Hofstra Pride, the story continued.

Mason’s struggles at the offensive end transitioned to a poor defensive effort as the Patriots connected on just 13 of 51 shot attempts in its 72-39 loss to the Pride.

The Patriots made only five of its 26 shot attempts in the first half, but a solid 3-point shooting effort kept the game within reach.

Junior guard Ashleigh Braxton opened the game with a 3-pointer, and Mason held a 5-4 lead at the 16-minute mark. But the Pride would go on a 19-3 run in the next eight minutes to take a commanding 15-point lead before going into halftime with a 31-14 advantage.

Mason came out flat in the second half and allowed Hofstra to push their lead to 40 points with a 1:41 left in the second half. The Pride coasted to an impressive victory, making 60 percent of its shots.

After shooting 56 percent in the first half, the Pride upped shooting to 64 percent in the second half, outscoring the Patriots 41-25.

Senior guard Rashauna Hobbs was the only Patriot to notch double-digit points as she scored 10 points while knocking down two 3-pointers. Freshman forward Amber Easter turned in a solid outing as she went for nine points and six rebounds.

“We’re a little tentative, a little passive with the offense right now because it’s been a challenge for us to put the ball in the basket all season. And I think that’s starting to affect the way we run our offense right now,” said Porter as she addressed the concerns of her struggling offense.

The Pride controlled the game from beginning to end. Nicole Capurso sank four long-range jumpers in an impressive 20-point performance and Jess Fuller followed up with 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting.

Candice Bellocchio played an excellent game from the point guard position and recorded 10 points and five assists in the winning effort.
Without a significant post presence, Mason was muscled around in the paint for much of the night and was outscored 38-12 in the key. The Pride outrebounded Mason on the boards, 39-24.

“One of our major weaknesses is that we don’t have a true back-to-the-basket post player,” said Porter. “We try to get high percentage shots by penetrating as opposed to making a lot of post entry passes. And [Hofstra] did a good job of taking that away. And we really didn’t do a good job reading that.”

The Patriots were originally scheduled for a 2 p.m. start against the Delaware Blue Hens in Newark, Del. on Sunday, but due to the inclement weather, the game was pushed to an hour later.