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Lady Bisons want to wear spoiler label in A-Sun Tourney
Jenna Bartsokas
Jenna Bartsokas

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

MACON, Ga. _ The Lipscomb Lady Bisons are the eighth seed in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament, but they might be No. 1 in terms of potential tournament spoilers.

At least that is the way Lady Bisons’ coach Frank Bennett wants his team to approach it.

Wednesday morning at 11 the Lady Bisons will face ETSU, the No.1 seed in the quarterfinals. ETSU will be seeking its fourth consecutive A-Sun Tournament title. ETSU is 18-11 overall, 15-5 in the conference. The Lady Bisons are 9-20, 6-14 in the A-Sun.

The game will be televised free on A-Sun TV.

The Lady Bisons have lost both meetings with ETSU this season falling 95-64 Jan. 22 on the road and 66-52 Feb. 19 at Allen Arena.

“ETSU is No. 1 and has been the champion several times, but I think our team is looking forward to the game,” Bennett said. “The team, and the seniors in particular, really made it a priority to get back into the tournament.

“It’s a new three-game season now. We believe we have really improved in the last three or four weeks.”

ETSU is led by Tara Davis with 15.3 points per game, third overall in the conference. Destiny Mitchell is averaging 14.5 points, sixth overall in the conference. Natalie Pickwell is also averaging in double figures with 11.9 per game.

Mitchell is fifth overall in the conference in rebounding with nine boards per game. Latisha Belcher is eighth in rebounds overall with 7.3.

The Lady Bisons are entering the tournament fresh from a 70-67 win over Mercer here at the University Center Saturday.

“That win has been a big boost for us,” Bennett said.

The Lady Bisons are led by guard Jenna Bartsokas, a second-team All-Conference performer, with 14.8 points. She is fifth overall in the A-Sun. Guard Anna Bowers is averaging 13 points per game, 13th in the conference.

Bowers is third in the conference overall and 35th in NCAA Division I with 2.69 three-point field goals made per game. The Lady Bisons are 25th nationally in three-point field goals made with 7.2 per game.

Center Brittany Duerk paces the Lady Bisons on the boards with 5.6.

Bennett would like to see his Lady Bisons hit the court ready for a fast-paced game.

“We need to be aggressive and push the ball,” Bennett said. “Defensively, we will have to play good transition `D’. Ball pressure and rebounding will be the keys. We have to execute as a team on both ends of the court.”

Forward Valerie Bronson has been the most effective player for the Lady Bisons in their last three games. She had 16 points and 11 rebounds in the Mercer win for her first double-double of the season and a season-high in rebounds. She scored 17 points at Kennesaw State. She started the streak with a season-high 18 points against USC Upstate.

Bronson has seen more time on the court due to Leah McAlister being sidelined with an injury.

“Valerie has really played well,” Bennett said. “She was ready when the opportunity came.

“She has made the rhythm three and has been good both driving the ball and posting.”

Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.