The ball wouldn’t fall for Stephens College in the first half Monday night.
The Stars lost 67-55 to Avila University at Silverthorne Arena after shooting 16 percent in the first 20 minutes.
“It shouldn’t be as difficult as we had it in the first half shooting wise, but you’ve got to do things to make up for it,” Stephens coach Dane Pavlovich said. “Unfortunately for us, our defense wasn’t there. You can’t let what’s happening on one area of the floor affect what’s happening on the other area of the floor and I think we did that.”
Foul trouble also affected Stephens’ offense in the first half.
Stephens’ starting center, Pam Dodge, committed three fouls in the first 11:10, which not only hurt the Stars’ inside presence but their outside shooting as well.
“You never want to be one-dimensional,” Pavlovich said. “We think that with Michelle (Skala) and Pam (Dodge) inside, it opens up the outside for us. It makes us tougher to guard when we have both things working.”
The Eagles pressed a lot in the first half, which created turnovers and easy, open baskets for Avila.
“We wanted to get flying on the transition and get some easy lay-ups to get us going,” Avila assistant coach Megan Pederson said.
The second half was a different story for Stephens (4-16) and Pavlovich said he was pleased with his team’s improved play.
“We just weren’t playing well (in the first half),” Pavlovich said. “We came out in the second half and we had a little more in our tank. We went to another level which is something that we talk about as a team and I finally felt that we did that.”
The Stars trailed by 21 at one point in the second half but got as close as 10 points.
“We went real simple in the second half,” Pavlovich said. “We didn’t try to run too many sets. We did a lot of random motion because I felt like we were tied down with our spacing. We turned them loose a little bit. I felt we were very competitive in the second half.”
The victory snapped an eight game losing streak for Avila (9-17), which it hopes will help in its remaining conference games.
“Hopefully we can carry over and use some of our intensity that we had here to get everything rolling and back on track,” Pederson said.
Junior Josy Sanders led Stephens with 14 points while freshman Dani Asher had 15 for the Eagles.
Stephens plays next at 7 p.m. Wednesday at home against Robert Morris. The Stars lost to Robert Morris 74-58 in the Westminster Tournament in December.
“They’re a very interesting team because they’re such a strong second half team,” Pavlovich said. “We are going back to work with what we did in the second half (to prepare for the game). We’re going to do the little things that prevented us from being more competitive in this game.”