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Monday, November 09, 2009
The Lipscomb Lady Bisons basketball team is starting out the season in the fast lane in more ways than one.
Tuesday night at 7 the Lady Bisons close out the exhibition portion of the season when Freed-Hardeman visits Allen Arena.
The Lady Bisons open the regular season Friday night at 7:30 at home against Lehigh. Sunday afternoon at 3:30 Central Arkansas visits Allen Arena. Tuesday night the Lady Bisons host Austin Peay at 7.
“We are running out of practice days,” said Lady Bisons coach Frank Bennett. “We are playing three games in five days to start the regular season so we will have short practices.”
Bennett, in his 30th season as head coach of the Lady Bisons, has been pleasantly surprised on many fronts this season. Wing player Valerie Bronson opened offseason drills at a high level. She scored 20 points Saturday in a 90-77 exhibition win over Freed-Hardeman.
“Valerie played the same spot as Jilian Partin last season,” said Bennett. “Maybe she saw the opportunity. You never know how much someone is going to work or improve in the offseason.
“The things we are doing offensively lend themselves to her game. She is good when she drives the ball. She has a few post up opportunities. Those are things that have helped her.”
Bronson has formed a strong outside scoring tandem with sophomore Chelsea Burroughs who scored 21 points, hitting seven-of-12 from 3-point range.
“Chelsea is making the threes,” said Bennett. “That loosens the defense up and spreads it out some.”
Bennett is also pleased with the way that junior point guard Jenna Bartsokas is quarterbacking the quicker offensive attack.
“We have been able to get good tempo in pushing the ball down the floor,” said Bennett. “Jenna had eight assists and one turnover against Harding. She is running things very well.
“Jenna has to get the outlet and go with it. She has to decide which side has the better advantage. Both Chelsea and Val are doing a good job of running the wings hard and getting out there. If we can catch the defense on its heels when we start the possession they are scrambling from that point on.”
The Lady Bisons appear to have more depth than last season. Bennett admits it might be hard to find enough playing time for everyone who deserves it.
“What I really liked in the Harding game was when we substituted we didn’t see much drop off from all of the players we put in there,” said Bennett. “Even the freshmen, who were probably pretty jittery in their first game, played strong. They weren’t making glaring mistakes.”
Bennett is expecting a strong test from Freed-Hardeman, a preseason No. 6 selection in NAIA. Freed-Hardeman is led by Jana Cross, the returning NAIA Player of the Year.
“Jenna is not a real big post player, but she has good moves and draws a lot of fouls,” said Bennett. “They put the ball on the floor a lot in the post. They don’t just turn and shoot. They also shoot the three-point shot well.”