By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Leading throughout the entire contest Saturday, the Stephens College basketball team came away with its first American Midwest Conference victory by defeating Hannibal-LaGrange University, 69-56. Playing in the familiar confines of Silverthorne Arena, all 11 active players scored and the Stars also notched their first win at home for the 2015-16 season.
Stephens improved to 3-5 overall and 1-1 in the AMC before its Thanksgiving break. Banged up during the recent stretch of games, the Stars luckily have 12 days off before they resume AMC action in Arkansas. SC begins a three-game roadswing with games at No. 17 Lyon, Central Baptist and an exhibition at NCAA Division I University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC).
Stephens set the tone early and got off to a perfect start thanks to an 8-0 run in the first four minutes. The Stars' two leading scorers – Dana Heggemann and Bailey Taylor – combined for the first eight points before Hannibal-LaGrange got on the scoreboard. Neither team did much in the back end of the first quarter as SC took a 12-4 lead into the second stanza.
What began as a low-scoring affair turned into the Stars' third-highest scoring output of the season (69). While the starting lineup got the ball rolling, it was the key reserves who pushed ahead in the second quarter. The group of Mariah Brisco, Katie Lamkie and Tayler Limpus provided 14 points off the bench, led by Brisco with two buckets and a pair of free throws.
At halftime, the Stars led by a comfortable 13 points after shooting 50 percent from the field. Unlike Thursday's AMC opener when the team relied heavily on 3-pointers in the first half, Stephens attempted just four 3s in the first 20 minutes of Saturday's game.
A different Star caught fire in the third quarter and helped the team keep a double-digit lead heading into the final period. Point guard Sadie Dugger found her rhythm out of the halftime break and provided Stephens with seven points on 3-of-4 shooting and 1-for-1 from beyond the arc.
With a 47-36 lead, the Stars looked to apply a dagger to the heart of the Lady Trojans (1-4, 1-1 AMC) and bumped the margin up to 18 with 8:01 remaining. However, HLGU wasn't going down without a fight as it scored eight unanswered points on back-to-back 3-pointers by Kenna Greenway and a two by Anna Bucher. Stephens was able to hold off any late pushes by the Lady Trojans and kept its double-digit lead.
Sadie Dugger led the team in scoring for the first time this season with 15 points and tied for a team-high in assists with three. While Dugger was the only SC player to reach double digits, it didn't set back the Stars as it was a collective effort. Seven players had 5+ points, including Dana Heggemann (9), Mariah Brisco (8), Bailey Taylor (7), Kayleigh Shanahan (7), Angelica Medrano (6) and Katie Lamkie (5).
Taylor, who had two consecutive 17-point performances coming into the game, more than made up for it with hustle plays against Hannibal-LaGrange. The 5-9 forward pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds, which is the most by a Stephens player this year.
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