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Saturday, January 08, 2011Senior guard Jenna Bartsokas plays more minutes than any of her Lady Bisons teammates.
But this season the weight she is carrying is a little lighter. No longer is the offensive fate of the Lipscomb team sitting almost solely on her shoulders.
She leads the Atlantic Sun Conference in scoring with approximately 20 points per game. Her 23 points in Saturday’s 74-69 win against Jacksonville at Allen Arena marked the fifth time this season she has scored 20 or more points and her second time in the last three games.
Providing consistent help offensively has been junior guard Anna Bowers who scored 15 points. Freshman center Jess Reece is picking up confidence offensively. She scored a season high 14 points, her second double figures game of the season, 11 of them in the first half. Her only other double figures game was 10 points against Kennesaw State Dec. 18.
“Having multiple threats on the team is awesome,” Bartsokas said. “If I am not on in a game then Anna is probably going to be on and hitting the threes.
“We have people who are going to step up. It has been coming more naturally during the game. When your teammates are doing well you feed off of that.”
Bartsokas tied Jacksonville guard Crystal Bell for the game high in scoring.
“Jenna gave us a lot of leadership in scoring and Anna came through in the second half,” Bennett said. “Jenna has had some really good games. Even when she is not hitting she does so many other good things.”
The Lady Bisons are 7-7, 4-1 in the A-Sun. Jacksonville is 6-7, 1-3 in the conference.
With the win the Lady Bisons ended an eight-game losing streak to Jacksonville dating back to Nov. 30, 2006.
The Lady Bisons led 35-30 at the half. They weathered a major storm in the second half as their 40-32 lead turned into a 42-41 advantage for Jacksonville with 14:14 left to play. Sophomore forward Hannah Phillips connected on a jump shot to give the Lady Bisons a 43-42 edge.
They would not give up the lead again, leading by 10 twice with the last at 69-59 with 3:47 remaining on a pair of free throws by Bowers.
“We would have liked to have opened it up some, but I thought we showed great determination,” Bennett said. “Whenever they made those runs we answered them, even when they took the lead. There was no panic.
“Jacksonville is a very good team. They are very athletic. They keep coming after you.”
Joining Bell in double figures in points for Jacksonville were guard Ashanti Williams with 17 and forward Lynsey Paschal with 12.
Jacksonville held a 46-31 advantage on the boards with Paschal earning a double-double with a game-high 13 rebounds. Phillips led the Lady Bisons in rebounding with seven.
“She got nine points and hit a good percentage,” Bennett said. “She is versatile. She can play the post. She can play a guard. She probably could guard anybody on the floor, at least the one-through-four positions.
“We had a minus-two rebound margin in the second half after a minus-13 in the first half. For most teams it is not a very good goal, but for us if we can stay close in rebounding we have a very good shot.”
Freshman guard Haley Nelson returned to the court for the Lady Bisons, but they played without center Chelsea McMeans and forward Valerie Bronson.
“We were short-handed particularly in the post area,” Bennett said. “We did a great job of covering for each other. “We are relaxed. No one is feeling pressure to do to this or that. They are having fun.”
The Lady Bisons are back in action Monday at 5 when North Florida visits. North Florida lost 65-48 Saturday at Belmont.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.