By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Despite a slow start on the road, the Stephens College basketball team (1-6, 1-2 AMC) found life offensively and claimed its first win of the season by defeating conference opponent Benedictine University-Springfield, 67-50. Thursday’s victory marks the first of the Ray Fron era and also helped the Stars snap a 38-game losing streak, which dates back to Feb. 14, 2013.
The Stars shot a season-best 48 percent from the field and had four players score in double figures. Defensively, Stephens limited Benedictine to 29 percent shooting and held the Bulldogs without a 3-point field goal (0-for-12).
Neither team started off on the right foot as the two teams combined for just six points in the first five minutes of play. BENU (0-4, 0-3 AMC) knocked down a free throw to get on the board first, but forward Makayla Butler answered back with a 3-pointer in the corner to give the Stars their first lead of the game.
The offense began to emerge and the momentum was on display when Butler walked right down the lane on a beautiful backdoor play from Dana Heggemann. Heaton, the Stars’ leading 3-point shooter, knocked down a couple of 3s and helped SC to a 10-point lead and pushed it to 12 with a perfectly-executed inbounds play to Kaitlee Hess underneath the basket.
After Stephens extended its lead to 20, the Bulldogs showed a glimpse of life and went on a 6-0 run in large part due to three consecutive SC turnovers. The Stars responded before the halftime with a clutch three by Bridget Teixeira. With two seconds left, Teixeira swished one through to give Stephens a 37-18 advantage heading into the break.
It was by far one of the best halves offensively for SC as the Stars shot 57.1 percent from the field and were 5-for-12 (.417) from 3-point range.
The freshman quartet of Hess, Butler, Heaton and Carlson combined for 28 first-half points and were 70.5 percent from the floor. Carlson led all scorers at half with nine points.
Benedictine scored the first six points of the half to cut the margin to 37-24, but the Stars once again found an answer and led by as many as 20. The Bulldogs gave it one last run inside the 10-minute mark and narrowed the lead to 12, but were unable to get within single digits.
Leading the way for Stephens were Carlson and Heaton, who came off the bench to score 15 and 14, respectively. Finishing 6-of-10 from the field, Carlson surpassed her career-high by four points and was also active defensively with five steals. Joining the two freshmen in double figures were Heggemann (12 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists) and Butler (12 points) with a team-high eight rebounds. Other notable performers included Hess with seven points and Teixeira with five.
The Stars are on the road again Saturday for a conference matchup with Harris-Stowe State (1-3, 1-1 AMC) at 2 p.m.
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