The last three games have been kind of rough for Hofstra University women’s basketball, but even in losses come lessons that hopefully will bring the Pride to a new level of play. It’s a veteran team with seven seniors who are hungry to finish their collegiate playing days in winning fashion.
“I’m proud of the way the team is working,” said Danielle Santos Atkinson, in her third year as head coach. “Our last few games we’ve been not ourselves, we’ve not played to our identity, which is a team that plays really hard and gets after it on the defensive end of the floor.
“We’re working to get ourselves back on track,” she added. “We have a veteran team, so from a leadership perspective we’re leaning on them and relying on them as we continue to move throughout this year.”
Building a winning culture is a process. Santos Atkinson and her coaching staff did not expect to turn things around in one year. In this third year, the progress continues.
“We feel that with the team we have this season, the starters that we have returning, we have an opportunity to do something special and to really have a special year,” said Santos Atkinson.
“With that, we’re going to continue to build. We’re laying a foundation for this program to build on for years to come. We want to breed the level of success we are looking to attain.”
While the priority is playing well and winning, they did take time during a recent road trip to two HBCU schools, Howard University and Morgan State, to tour the campuses and take in the history. With gender equity a big part of conversations around women’s college basketball since the 2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament, Santos Atkinson, who is part of the Women of Color Coaches Association and other groups, participates in building the future.
“We do try to push that envelope in continuing to work toward gender equity,” she said. “I don’t know if we’ll ever get there, but we want to see the work being put in to help level it.”
After Saturday’s loss to Ole Miss, the players have a few days off to focus on finals. Play resumes this Saturday with a road game at Cleveland State. Then the Pride return to their home court for a Long Island faceoff against Stony Brook. After a break for Christmas, Hofstra will finish 2021 with games against Columbia and UNCW.