At the end of the Stephens College basketball season, coach Dane Pavlovich saw two problems to address in order to make the future brighter for his team.
“We didn’t have a lot of guard depth at the end of the season, especially when Amy (Burklund, the starting point guard) went down,” Pavlovich said. “And at times, we were inconsistent with (3-point shots) last year.”
Pavlovich took care of those needs with his first signee of the season.
After Stephens recruited her for nearly seven months, St. Pius X senior Andrea Vallo signed a national letter of intent Monday to play for the Stars for the 2005-2006 season.
“Stephens College has everything at one place,” Vallo said. “They had my major, it’s in Columbia (and close to home) and I liked the size of the campus and classrooms.”
Vallo said that a main reason she wanted to come to Stephens to play basketball was that Pavlovich made her feel wanted during the recruiting process.
“He kept in contact,” Vallo said. “He came to one of my games and most coaches don’t do that.”
The players also made her feel at home.
“They were all very welcoming,” Vallo said. “They were anxious to see me interested.”
Vallo considered playing basketball at other schools including Fontbonne University, Blackburn College and William Penn University.
The first time Pavlovich saw Vallo play, he was impressed with her shooting.
“She’s a very good outside shooter,” Pavlovich said. “She can give us some depth at (shooting guard) and the thing that I thought would fit in really well was her ability to put the ball in the hole from the outside.”
Pavlovich was also impressed with Vallo’s leadership skills. He said she leads by example.
Vallo, a 5-foot-6 guard, had a successful senior year with the Lancers, who ended up 20-8. She led her team with 10.7 points per game, made 45 3-pointers and helped it to a district championship.
Vallo also earned several individual honors. She was a first-team All-Conference selection in her junior and senior years and was also selected to play in a Jefferson County Conference All-Star game.
“I’ve learned a lot here that I will always keep with me,” Vallo said. “But I’m ready to get out of high school.”
Pavlovich said he is looking forward to his new recruiting class and he hopes to sign six more players to make a full roster of 15 players for next season.
“This is a real exciting day for us because it seems like when this happens, it happens in waves,” Pavlovich said. “It’s really exciting for us as we continue to sign recruits. It’s more of a celebration than anything.”