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Mercer (1-6 (0-1))
Lipscomb (1-7 (1-0))
12/1/2011 | Allen Arena/Nashville, Tenn. | Attendance: 0
Thursday, December 01, 2011
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – An outstanding shooting performance gave the Lipscomb women's basketball team earned its inaugural win of the season Thursday night, defeating Mercer 80-70 to open Atlantic Sun Conference action.
The victory came in a milestone game for Lipscomb head coach Frank Bennett, who coached his 1000th game at Lipscomb. Coach Bennett is 578-422 all-time as the Lady Bisons head coach.
Lipscomb hit a program-record 34 free throws and shot 79.1 percent from the line as the Lady Bisons snapped a seven game losing skid. Lipscomb hit exactly half their shots from the floor (20-for-40) and nailed an incredible 60 percent (6-for-10) from three-point range.
“Our execution was good tonight,” Bennett said. “We were a lot stronger with the ball tonight, and we finally made free throws.”
As good as Lipscomb was on offense, the visitors were as inept. Mercer shot just 33 percent (27-for-81) from the field and missed all eight three-point attempts. The Lady Bears were also just 16-for-31 (51.6 percent) from the free-throw line.
In their best shooting performance since the 2007-08 season, four Lady Bisons entered double figures. Junior Hannah Phillips scored a game-high 18 points and added six rebounds and a team-high five assists for good measure.
In her return from injury, senior Leah McAlister shook off the rust to add 15 points off the bench and a team-high seven rebounds.
In a historically good night at the free-throw line, Phillips and McAlister combined to hit 19 of their 23 free throws. In all, the Lady Bisons hit 34 of 43 free throws against Mercer, breaking the school women’s basketball record of 31 made free throws against Belmont, Jan. 12 2009.
Senior Anna Bowers (11 points) and junior Morgan Faulkner (10 points) gave the Lady Bisons good production against Mercer. Bowers knocked down two big three-pointers for Lipscomb.
“We had some really good practices Sunday and Monday,” Bennett said. “Tonight was a great team effort.”
With so much production coming from the charity stripe, there was often a lack of quality looks on the offensive end. Lipscomb went more than three minutes between made field goals on six occasions, including the final 3:47 of regulation.
One place Lipscomb will need to keep improving is on the glass. The Lady Bisons lost the battle of the boards 44-39, pulling down a paltry five offensive rebounds and allowing Mercer to rake in 26 offensive boards. Two Lady Bears (Alex Phillips and Ry’van Buchanan) had double-digit rebounding totals.
The Lady Bisons return to the court to host Kennesaw State Saturday at 2:15 p.m.