Stephens gains valuable experience

Sunday, February 11, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 12:42 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Stephens’ women’s basketball game Saturday night at Silverthorne Arena against one of its toughest opponents of the season, the Avila University Eagles, changed quickly as the game progressed. The Stars jumped to an 18-6 lead to start the game, then the Eagles began the second half with a 28-8 run.

What the game came down to was experience as the Eagles prevailed 70-49.

The Stars (7-15) have five freshmen and six sophomores on their roster. The Eagles (18-9) have eight seniors. Given the different levels of experience, Stars coach Dane Pavlovich said his team played about as well as it could against the Eagles, especially in the first half when the Stars stayed within seven points.

“To do that, you got to be playing well, and we were playing well,” Pavlovich said.

Because the Stars are a young, Pavlovich is looking forward for them to grow. Right now, the Stars are starting three freshmen, including forward Tia LaFavor, who led the Stars with 15 points Saturday night.

LaFavor said the Stars were aware of the Eagles’ experience and it showed down the stretch. LaFavor said playing teams like the Eagles might help the team get stronger.

“We’re learning,” LaFavor said. “As freshmen and sophomores, we are all getting a lot of experience, so down the stretch, we will end up having a lot of experience.”

Having such a young team will pay off in the upcoming years. The Stars only have three games remaining this year, including their game at 7 p.m. Tuesday against visiting Central Christian College.

“I think the future’s bright, holy cow,” Pavlovich said. “We’re getting a ton of experience that we’re going to be better for, not only in the next three games, but in the next couple years.”

Once the season wraps up in a couple weeks, Stephens is going rely on the offseason to help it grow and gain experience.

“Offseason’s going to be big for us, because you grow a year older and probably be a better player,” Pavlovich said. “But working hard and making sure you’re a better player is going to be absolutely the key for us.”

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