The Stars won their contest against the Eutectics 70-61 in a gritty performance Tuesday night.
After losing its home opener Nov. 12, Stephens College hit the road and opened up American Midwest Conference play. The Stars lost both of their conference games, including one where Stephens lost by 59 points. So when the Stars returned home for another conference matchup against St. Louis College of Pharmacy, the team knew it needed a win.
Stephens came out with high intensity and pressured the Eutectics early on. Implementing a zone defensive coverage, Stephens frustrated St. Louis’ offense into shooting bad 3-point shots. On offense, the Stars pushed play into the paint to get numerous trips to the free throw line. And if there wasn’t any opening to get to the basket, Stephens passed the ball outside for 3-point shots of its own.
At the end of the first quarter, St. Louis only made 5-of-21 shots, and those five shots came from behind the arc, while Stephens made 5-of-11 field goals and 4-of-7 free throws. St. Louis tried to adjust throughout the game and put on an equally gritty effort in the game, but the Stars adapted to the changes and many players made key plays to keep momentum in their favor.
Makenzie Jemes, one of Stephens’ crucial players, lead her team with five steals, 17 points, 13 rebounds, and went 5-of-13 from the free throw line.
“We really wanted to come out and get a win on our home court because we didn’t win our home opener. We were pretty upset about it,” said Stars player Jemes said. “I think everyone contributed really well. We rebounded and played defense really well, which is what we were focused on and we came out with the win.”
Coach Joshua Steffen was also happy with how the team was able to perform at home. The Stars went out and executed the game plan as needed.
“We really tried to make them pass the ball. We knew they could shoot, we knew they were good drivers. So we wanted to make them pass,” Steffen said. “We did that through the zone, we did that by kind of playing the inside people one-on-one. And it turned into some plays we made with our hands.”
By the end of the contest, Stephens forced 21 turnovers to secure the win.
Although the win was a much needed one, the Stars can’t rest yet. Their next game is against conference opponent Lindenwood University-Belleville, who Stephens hasn’t beaten in years.
Stephens plays Lindenwood at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in Columbia.