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Stephens College renovates volleyball, basketball court for upcoming athletic season

Thursday, September 26, 2013 | 11:05 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Stephens College's newly refinished Deb Duren Court is ready for play after being refinished this summer.

The court, named after Stephens College athletic director Deb Duren, is home to both Stephens' basketball and volleyball teams.  It is located at Silverthorne Arena off Broadway and College Avenue.

After undergoing renovations, the court is set to make its debut Friday during the volleyball team's home opener against Avila University.

"Before, the floor wasn't bad. It was just plain and unexciting," sophomore volleyball player Madison Reale said. "Now that it is decorated with more of a Stephens appearance, I do think it has inspired the volleyball team to have more of a demeanor towards representing our school on our home turf."

The resurfacing, which took most of July, was the first time the court had renovations done since Silverthorne Arena was built in 1998.

Head basketball coach Chris Duncan said most schools resurface their floors every year. Stephens waited 15 years to resurface because the school uses its court only for basketball and volleyball compared to other schools who use their courts more frequently.

"There were so many things that we wanted to do to our floor that we haven't in past years because the floor hadn't needed to be refinished," Duncan said. "One was putting the branding on the floor, and the other was changing the 3-point line."

Before the renovations, the court did not have any Stephens College decal or school colors, a prominent feature of the remodel. The court also did not meet National Association of Intercollegiate Athletic basketball 3-point line regulations, which changed in 2010 to be a foot out from the high school 3-point line. Duncan said Stephens would use court tape to mark the changed regulation line before the renovation.

"It looks good, compared to last year," Stephens volleyball coach Rose Obunaga said of the renovation. "It just looks more neat."

According to Obunaga, the lines distinguishing the volleyball court from basketball court are more visible, making playing easier for both teams. The grip on the court has also improved, so players don't slide around as often.

"We also added an important signature to the court," Obunaga said. "The founder of our program was Deb (Duren), so we felt if we had her signature on the floor it would mean something for us and for the years she's spent supporting the athletic program at Stephens College."

Deb Duren Court is etched into opposite ends of the court accompanied by Duren's signature.

Duncan also championed naming the court after Duren, who he feels has worked to improve the athletic department at Stephens College. Duncan said he hopes one day that Stephens is among the top contenders in the NAIA and the money the school is investing into the athletic  program, including the renovation of the court, will help make that happen.

"All the schools we play in, they all have really nice courts, and they all have their branding on their courts," Duncan said. "And our court, up until this year, looked like a generic court, it looked like anyone could use it, but now, we have a Stephens College court."

Supervising editor is Erik Hall: sports@ColumbiaMissourian.com, 882-5729.


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