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Sunday, December 28, 2008DAYTON, Ohio _ Staying busy during the Christmas holidays is usually not a problem for most people.
But the Lipscomb Lady Bisons basketball team has not been on the court in a game since a Dec. 9 loss at Evansville. They get back in the swing of things Sunday and Monday at the second annual Dayton Flyer Classic at the UD Arena. The Lady Bisons will face host Dayton at 2 p.m. Sunday. Bowling Green State and Gardner-Webb play in the other game. The finals are scheduled for Monday.
The Lady Bisons enter the tournament with three straight losses. Dayton has won its last three games.
“Dayton is really playing well,” said Bennett. “Bowling Green is a quality team. Gardner-Webb is also doing a good job.”
Sophomore guard Jenna Bartsokas leads the Lady Bisons with 13.3 points per game. She has scored in double figures in eight of nine games this season.
“From an offensive standpoint Jenna as been pretty consistent,” said Bennett. “But I think she can be even more aggressive offensively because she can do so many different things.”
In an effort to increase the scoring of the team overall Bennett has made some changes in the playbook.
“We are doing more set things and not so many motion-decision type things,” said Bennett. “I think that has helped us a little bit.”
Freshman guard Anna Bowers scored 14 points, a season-and-career high, at Evansville. She was four-of-four from 3-point range.
“Anna has been shooting well in practices,” said Bennett. “She had her best game against Evansville. Her shooting stroke and her shot selection are both better.”
The extra time away from game preparations gave the Lady Bisons an edge in studying for final exams. But for coach Frank Bennett the extra time was a challenge as he attempted to keep his team focused on practice.
“We went pretty hard for a couple of days,” said Bennett. “We really tried to up the intensity level in practice. We charted a lot of offensive and defensive rebound responsibilities. The players ran when they didn't meet those.
“We also worked on transitions and offensive and defensive execution. The practices were very hard.”
Assistant coaches Katie Beth Allen and Lynsie Blau both worked extensively with the post players. Assistant coach Billy Snell also concentrated on specialty work for the guards.
The scrimmages provided a chance for players that aren't getting regular time in games to show what they can do.
“We played 10-minute periods with the last two minutes in a game situation,” said Bennett. “It was a chance to see everybody.” The Lady Bisons left for Dayton at 7:30 a.m. Saturday. This is the only regular season tournament for the Lady Bisons this season. It will be their final non-conference games before the Atlantic Sun schedule opens again in January.
“In addition to Bartsokas,sophomore forward Cree Nix is also playing well, especially on the boards. She is coming off a season-and-career high with 11 boards against Evansville.
“Cree is playing harder more consistently,” said Bennett. “We are trying to get her to finish more by using the glass. She has made big strides and will continue to improve. She has the potential to be a double-double player a lot of nights.”
Senior forward Jilian Partin also is continuing to improve both offensively and on the boards.
“She is going to the offensive boards a lot better,” said Bennett. “She is shooting threes pretty well. She needs to use her judgment as to when she can get to the basket and not force shots.”
Bennett would also like to see Miriam McAlister and Katie Rollins do a better job of finishing shots.
“If we can get a little bit better in a few areas we will be a different team,” said Bennett. “Rebounding, shot selection and shotting percentage are all areas we need to work on. We need to consistently make transitions both ways.”