Stephens College women's basketball coach, players optimistic after losses

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 | 9:04 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Stephens College’s women's basketball team never expected a season like this. In coach Chris Duncan’s second year, the Stars are winless after 21 games.

Expectations going into this season weren’t high for Stephens after several key players from last year’s 7-22 squad either graduated or transferred, leaving only three players to return to the Stars’ roster. In the American Midwest Conference's preseason poll, coaches picked Stephens to finish 10th out of 12 teams.

So far, it's been even worse. And as one can imagine, the losses have weighed on the Stars.

“Losing is not easy for anyone,” Duncan said. “Every game we go into, we look to get a ‘W,’ but it just hasn’t happened yet.”

The team is shooting a lowly 32 percent from the field and averaging just 46.4 points per game. The Stars aren't just losing — they're getting blown out. Opponents are scoring more than 79 points per game against the Stars' defense.

Senior forward Davielle McCoy reached double-figures in scoring in each of Stephens' last three games, but the team lost each game by double-digit points.

“It’s been an uphill battle, but we’re just doing the best we can with what we have,” McCoy said.

At times it's been quite ugly: a 78-19 loss to Missouri Valley College on Nov. 8, a 90-33 drubbing by William Baptist College on Jan. 11, a 113-41 loss to Columbia on Jan. 16, and an 84-19 defeat against Freed-Hardeman University (Henderson, Tenn.) on Jan. 30

Despite the losses, Duncan believes that several positives have come out of the season. The Stars have been competitive in some games this season, including two close losses to Benedictine University-Springfield. Sophomore guard Seleena Neal is one of the leading scorers in the American Midwest Conference with 17.5 points per game, and sophomore forward Dana Heggemann has shown her all-around game throughout the season, including coming one assist short of a triple-double against Benedictine.

Duncan’s positive attitude has rubbed off on his players, who see this season as a learning experience.

“This season has taught me that you just have to take what you’re given,” McCoy said. “It doesn’t matter the circumstances; as long as you do the best you can, it’s a plus.”

With only seven games remaining, Stephens’ chances to get a win this season are running out. Even if they finish the season without a win, Duncan will try to find a silver lining. “It’ll be hard,” Duncan said. “But at the same time, it’ll be something to look back on and motivate the team for next year.”

Supervising editor is Mark Selig.

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