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Troy State bounces Stetson Hatters

Troy State women's basketball coach Michael Murphy preaches defense.

His players listen.

Troy State (8-7, 3-1) struggled in the first half in its home game against Stetson (2-13, 1-3), but shut out the Hatters for a stretch of 8:29 in the second half and pulled away for a 72-53 win.

"In the second half, we were able to sustain our starters," Murphy said. "Thea Herring played only three minutes in the first half, but she played the entire second half. She's a force inside, but she's only a force inside if she's in the game."

Herring shut down Stetson's Kristy Brown in the second half. Stetson rode Brown's 13 first-half points to a 30-29 halftime lead, but Brown finished with 17 points.

"We went to a zone to shut down the post," Murphy said. "They hit some threes against it, but we were able to shut them down."

The turning point in the game was an eight-minute stretch in the second half in which the Lady Trojans did not allow a single point.

Michelle Garcia tied the game at 38 with a three-point shot with 17:16 to play. Troy State scored 15 straight points. Stetson did not score again until the 8:48 mark.

"This game was more fun in the second half," senior guard Chaquita Alexander said.

Alexander led the Lady Trojans with 22 points, 12 of which came in the second half.

The first half was a strange one. Troy State scored the first eight points of the game and held an 8-0 lead at the first media timeout.

Stetson did not score until 4:30 had passed in the game. Troy State went cold after that and scored only one field goal in the next nine minutes, a Shay Stewart jumper.

Stetson took advantage and built a 20-12 lead with 7:18 left in the first half.

"Constance Kelly saved us in the first half," Murphy said. "We get down by eight points and she goes in there and scored all eight of her points to get us in the game. She saved us in the first half."

Sparked by Kelly's presence, the Lady Trojans went on a 10-2 run to tie the game at 22. Kelly came in because Kerri Fiehrer picked up a technical foul 7:57 left in the first half. That counted as her second personal foul.

Fiehrer returned in the second half with a fearless attitude and scored eight of her 10 points. She was a perfect shooter, hitting both free throws and all four field goal attempts.

Herring also scored the majority of her points in the second half, getting 10 of her 14.

Troy State outscored Stetson 43-23 in the second half.

"They could have folded, but they didn't," Murphy said. "I told them at the half, 'You can't get everything back in one possession. You have to take it one possession at a time.'"

The Lady Trojans are at home again Saturday against Jacksonville.