First half secures victory for Stars

Wednesday, December 10, 2008 | 9:05 p.m. CST; updated 11:40 p.m. CST, Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Stephens forward Cara Leis braves a Principia double-team while driving for a layup.

COLUMBIA — At the end of the first half of Wednesday night's game at Silverthorne Arena, things looked promising for the Stephens basketball team. The Stars entered the locker room after shooting 43-percent from the field and nabbing seven steals, 16 rebounds and a 23-point lead over Principia College.

Stephens coach Dane Pavlovich called it the most complete half of basketball the team had played all season. And it was a good thing the Stars got a head start.

The Stephens team that had dominated in the first half came out in the second half throwing reckless passes, erratic shots and sharp elbows.

"I don't know if they (Principia) did anything differently, I just think we might of broke down in the second. OK, we definitely broke down." Stephens freshman Megan Sheffield said after the Stars' 63-38 victory.

Sheffield, Stephens' offensive anchor, watched her team unravel from the bench for most of the half. The cushy first-half lead spurred Pavlovich to explore the depth of his roster in the second.

Stephens freshman Andie Young came off the bench to score seven points and lead the Stars in the second half. Tia LaFavor had six points and four rebounds.

But the clock turned out to be a tougher opponent for Stephens than Principia.

Stephens' shooting dropped dramatically to 17-percent in the second half.  The Stars went 0-for-6 from behind the 3-point line and barely managed to squeeze off eight-points in the last 10 minutes of play.

"We entered practice this week physically refreshed, but mentally was a different story," Pavlovich said. "If we had been in a pinch situation, we would have been in trouble."

The Stars have another mental challenge to face when they face Westminster College at 7 p.m. Saturday at Silverthorne Arena. The game will be the first time Stephens will play in the midst of semester finals, which begin Friday for the players.

When asked about the upcoming game, Pavlovich shrugged his shoulders and said, "We'll see what happens."

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