The pregame shoot-around was painful for sophomore guard Elisa Cash.
It was obvious to everyone in Silverthorne Arena on Tuesday night. She winced with every jump-er, repeatedly grabbing the brace around her left ankle.
“I’m already sweating from the pain,” she told her teammates.
For Cash and the rest of her Stephens College teammates, the game only compounded the pain.
The Stars suffered a 63-26 loss against St. Louis College of Pharmacy, pushing the Stars’ losing streak to 15. The Stars are 1-15.
Coach Dane Pavlovich said the defeat was disheartening but he believes in the character of the team.
“It’s tough to want to play after 15 losses,” Pavlovich said. “It’s tough to want to come to the gym. To these girls’ credit, they are doing it. I know their frustration seems to mount with every loss, but we’re going to get after it and get better.”
Melissa Sander’s 3-point shooting display for the Eutectics initiated the Stars’ confusion early.
Sander, a 5-foot-10 guard, shot 4-of-5 from 3-point territory in the first half on her way to scoring 18 points in the game.
The undersized Stars’ lineup was helpless to defend her, which touched off a number of defensive breakdowns. Stephens never regained composure and was losing 35-15 at the half.
“That was the best offensive performance I’ve seen from (Sander) all season,” Eutectics coach Chad Gregory said. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the whole team; this is first solid 40 minutes of basketball we’ve played all season.”
The Stars’ defensive problems underscored continuing struggles on offense.
“Scoring has been our problem all year,” Pavlovich said. “They smacked us in the mouth tonight, and we just didn’t respond.”
The lone positive in the loss might be that Cash played. She had been the Stars’ leading scorer before an ankle bruise caused her to miss four games. Cash played nine minutes against Robert Morris on Saturday, but Tuesday night marked her return to the starting lineup.
“I’m just trying to test it,” Cash said. “The doctor said I could play on it but it’s still really painful.”
Cash shot 3-of-11 on 3-pointers, scoring nine points in the game. Her struggles from long-range removed one of the legitimate scoring weapons on a team with few.
“I felt really off balance,” Cash said. “It definitely showed tonight.”