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Lady Bisons facing test against Xavier
Alex Kelly
Alex Kelly

Friday, November 26, 2010

It might seem to be a curtain call after winning the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament Championship, but Saturday’s match with Xavier could make the difference in how far the Lipscomb Lady Bisons advance in the NCAA Tournament.

Game time is at 2 p.m. at Allen Arena. Sunday afternoon a viewing party will be held at Shamblin Theater with fans and friends invited to attend and find out whom and where the Lady Bisons will be playing.

But first they will be tested by Xavier, 20-9, the runner-up to Dayton in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. The Lady Bisons are 23-6 heading into the match. They will be putting their 26-match regular season home winning streak on the line.

“The past couple of times we have been to the NCAA Tournament we have found it hard to replicate the experience of actually playing,” Rosenthal said. “What ends up happening is we always come out a little

flat in the first set.

“A lot of teams do this. It makes them a little fresher. We can kind of get back in the rhythm of a couple of practices and then playing a match.”

The Lady Bisons spotted ETSU two sets and then came back to win the next three to win their second straight A-Sun Tournament title and their third in four years. Xavier lost 3-0 to nationally-ranked Dayton.

“I’m excited we are going to be playing tough competition,” Rosenthal said. “Xavier is a good team and well-coached. “It is a team we haven’t seen. They come from another conference. They give us a worthy opponent to play at the most crucial time when we should be gearing up for the NCAA Tournament.""

The Lady Bisons are approaching this like every regular season match. The ultimate goal is to win, but Rosenthal will also be watching to see if his team can fine tune a couple of areas.

“I’d like to see our defense really step up,” Rosenthal said. “I think the rhythm of our transition offense will be important. I would like to see us score points out of our defense against Xavier and leading into the tournament.”

Rosenthal thinks the ETSU match in the finals was the type of challenge the Lady Bisons needed.

“The biggest thing is our girls are in a much better place now understanding how much will power they have in being able to overcome a deficit," Rosenthal said.

“They also realized the urgency not to get down in sets. The first 10 points of a set has kind of changed in our eyes. We had taken our fair share of the first 10 points in a set and fallen into a nice, easy pattern. ETSU shook us.”

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