BY JOHN DUBOIS
Last season the Danville Area Community College Lady Jaguars were dominant at home winning 12 of 14 games at Mary Miller Gymnasium.
Following three road games to start the season, the Jaguars made their home debut Wednesday night against the St. Mary-of-the-Woods Pomeroys who play in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association.
Hillary Lively led a balanced scoring effort with a game high 25 points as the Jaguars blew open the game in the second half for a 112-77 win.
Stephanie Lord added 18 points and Javonna Smith chipped in with 16 as all 10 Jaguars scored.
The Jaguars led 59-54 at halftime with Lively scoring 16 of her points in the second half.
“We always sets goals at the beginning of a game, but we knew when the second half started we had to throw those goals out the window,’’ Lively said. “We focused on playing winning minutes and being smarter on offense and defense. We knew we could do this and get the win, and knew how they played from playing them last year, but we didn’t execute well in the first half.’’
The Jaguars got out to a fast start and never trailed in the game but didn’t pull away until the final minutes.
DACC led 11-2 and built the lead to 30-16, but the Pomeroys hung around and cut the lead to five points going into halftime.
“We didn’t do what we were capable of in the first half,’’ Danville Area Community College coach Kyle Bent said. “Tori Stephenson, Megan Hiner (13 points) and Stephanie Lord did a good job of dealing with their pressure as the game went along. Our team is in tremendous shape and has terrific stamina.
“We made a focal point of winning at home last year. You have to win on the road to make the national tournament which is our goal, but we always want our home games to be a big deal.’’
Stephenson is filling in for the injured Kayton Cole who last season was the Mid-West Athletic Conference player and freshman of the year.
“The key to breaking the pressure is that you can’t go too fast or top slow,’’ Stephenson said. “You have to be looking up the court and straight into the defense. I have had to make some quick adjustments since Kayton got injured, but she has taught me a lot and I am learning.
“We look for balance in our offense and I’m a passing point guard.’’
Former Covington Trojan Whitney Allen, who had 12 points, hit a 3-pointer allowing the Pomeroys to pull within 67-63, but they would get no closer.
DACC closed the game on a 20-2 run.
“We were able to cut down on the fouls in the second half by getting to more defensive rebounds and by doing a better job of sealing seems,’’ Bent said. “We did a better job of getting into defensive position and did less stepping and slapping at the ball.
“We do look for balanced scoring but I think at times we may unselfish to a fault. We started finding a good rhythm in the second half and that is a main key for our offense.’’
Former Chrisman Cardinal Paige Thevenin had 10 points for the Jaguars and former Bismarck-Henning Blue Devil Samantha Siddens added six.
“We have been able to pick and chose our minutes with Paige so far,’’ Bent said. “She has played some good minutes and has developed more than anyone since the start of the season.
“Samantha gave us some huge minutes tonight. She has also really developed her game, is an excellent passer, and had some big rebounds from the guard position.’’
The Jaguars are now 3-1 and they will return to action at home on Tuesday against the Lincoln Trail Lady Statesmen. Tip off is set for 5:30 p.m.
“We are getting sound as a group,’’ Lively said. “We are developing a strong relationship off the court and that will show as success on the court.’’