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Lady Bisons basketball schedule has a local flavor

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Lipscomb Lady Bisons basketball schedule has a heavy local flavor for 2008-2009.

The Lady Bisons will be playing several Ohio Valley Conference teams this season starting with the regular season opener Nov. 15 at Austin Peay in Clarksville, Tenn.

The OVC theme continues with back-to-back home games when Tennessee Tech visits Allen Arena Nov. 18 and Tennessee-Martin comes to Nashville Nov. 20.

“This is the first time we have ever played Tennessee Tech in women’s basketball,” said Lady Bisons coach Frank Bennett. “We are only 80 miles apart, but we have never played before.”

Rounding out the home schedule is a visit from Samford, a former OVC team, Nov. 24 and a visit from Tennessee State, the fourth OVC team on the schedule Nov. 29.

The Lady Bisons will face Bowling Green State in Bowling Green, Ohio Nov. 22. They travel to Evansville, Ind. to play Evansville Dec. 9.

“Bowling Green State has been a very outstanding program the past few years,” Bennett said. “They made it all the way to the `Sweet 16’ a couple of years ago. That will be a tough game. I understand they have a small gym with a really rabid crowd.

“We are renewing our series with Evansville. That is always a tough game.”

The only tournament on the regular season schedule for the Lady Bisons is Dec. 28 and 29 at Dayton University in Dayton, Ohio. Other teams in the field are Bowling Green State and Gardner-Webb.

“Last year we had four of our first 17 games at home and we played a lot of high major teams,” said Bennett. “We have four OVC schools that are within easy driving distance. Hopefully, we can develop some rivalries there and have some fan interest.”

The Lady Bisons will open the Atlantic Sun portion of the schedule on the road facing North Florida Dec. 4 and Jacksonville Dec. 6.

‘Most would consider ETSU, the defending champion, as the favorite,” Bennett said. “They lost some players, but they were deep and athletic.

“Jacksonville was the runner-up last season. They lost one key player, but they have a lot of players with a lot of experience coming back.”

After the New Year’s Day holiday the Lady Bisons will play three straight A-Sun games at Allen Arena with Stetson Jan. 3, Florida Gulf Coast Jan. 5 and Campbell Jan. 8.

Rounding out the home A-Sun schedule for the Lady Bisons will be Kennesaw State Jan. 22, Mercer Jan. 24, the “Battle of the Boulevard Part II” against Belmont Jan. 26, ETSU Feb. 13, USC-Upstate Feb. 15, Jacksonville Feb. 26 and North Florida Feb. 28.

The remaining A-Sun road games for the Lady Bisons are Belmont Jan. 12, USC-Upstate Jan. 15, ETSU Jan. 17, Florida Gulf Coast Jan. 29, Stetson Jan. 3, Campbell Feb. 5, Mercer Feb. 19 and Kennesaw State Feb. 21.

“There are a lot of good teams in the league,” Bennett said. “We are back to playing every team in the conference twice. I think that is good.”

The Lady Bisons will play two exhibition games to prepare for the regular season. Alabama-Huntsville stops by Allen Arena on Nov. 6. Harding will be on the court Nov. 8.

The Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament returns to Lipscomb Allen Arena March 4-7.