The Stephens women’s basketball team had a tough time containing Missouri Valley’s offense and getting past its defense Thursday evening at Silverthorne Arena.
The Vikings stopped the Stars from getting open looks and moving the ball down low with a trapping, full-court press. Stars coach Dane Pavlovich said that threw the Stars off from the start in a 76-51 loss.
“We knew they were going to put pressure on us,” he said. “We weren’t getting great offensive looks because of the press.”
The Stars were scoreless for a 7-minute span midway through the first half, and the Vikings capitalized by going on a 16-0 run.
“It felt like we were in a humongous hole and had to crawl out of it,” Pavlovich said.
The Stars barely got out of that hole by ending the first half on a 13-3 run to pull within 35-24 at halftime.
When the Stars went on their scoring streaks, they moved the ball on offense. Pavlovich stressed passing to the team throughout the contest. But for most of the game, the Stars had a lot of trouble moving the ball and making baskets.
“When we weren’t scoring,” Pavlovich said, “it was a direct result of not moving.”
The Vikings’ superior size — they have three players 6 feet or taller — prevented the Stars from scoring in the paint.
“That’s one of their strengths, and obviously they used that to the best of their ability,” Pavlovich said. The Vikings’ size and strength helped them get in position to rebound, which led to many second-chance points.
But according to Stars freshman forward Tia LaFavor, who led the team with 10 points, size isn’t everything. She said the Stars needed to be much more physical to overcome the Vikings, but the Stars were outrebounded 17-6 in the second half.
The Stars also had a tough time containing the Vikings beyond the arc. They allowed eight 3-pointers, five of which were by Vikings freshman point guard Jordanne Walker.
Vikings coach Keith Lindahl said he was not surprised with Walker’s performance. He said Walker has made five 3-pointers three times this season and is 42 percent from 3-point range. Lindahl also said that the Stars’ zone is what led Walker to get many open looks.
“If they go zone,” he said, “I give her the green light to shoot.”
The Stars fell to 6-12, and the Vikings improved to 11-11.
Stephens College’s next game is at 3 p.m. Saturday against St. Mary of the Woods in Terre Haute, Ind. The Pomeroys lead the series 1-0 over the Stars.