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ETSU (9-19, 5-12 A-Sun)
Lipscomb (6-22, 3-14 A-Sun)
3/6/2014 | Nashville, Tenn. (Allen Arena) | Attendance: 278
Thursday, March 06, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb women’s basketball win over ETSU was true Bliss.
From the opening tip when Sara Bliss took the ball to the rim for a layup, to the clutch 3-pointer with 15 seconds remaining on the clock, Bliss played a key role in the start and finish as the Lady Bisons knocked off ETSU 76-74.
“It was a great team win tonight,” Lipscomb head coach Greg Brown said. “I am just so happy for the girls. To be down early and fight their way back shows a true testament to their will. We didn’t play our best game defensively, but everyone stepped up when we needed them the most. It was a great team effort.”
With the win Lipscomb snapped a 14-game losing streak to the Bucs (9-19, 5-12) Thursday night in Allen Arena.
The Lady Bisons (6-22, 3-14) posted four players in double figures led by redshirt sophomore forward Ashley Southern, who scored 27 points on 11-of-22 shooting from the field. She was joined in double digits by Danay Fothergill, who scored 15 points, 12 of which came in the final 20 minutes of action. Cooper and Bliss rounded out the double-figure scorers with 16 and 14, respectively.
Lipscomb trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half, when Serena Clark converted on a layup to give ETSU a 33-19 lead at the 6:09 mark.
The key moment to the victory was when Brown called a timeout just one minute into the second half, following a Maria Bond layup to give the Bucs a nine-point lead at 43-34.
Whatever Brown said must have worked.
The Lady Bisons used three 3-pointers and a 14-2 run to quickly tie the game at 45-45, before Cooper drained another trey to give Lipscomb its first lead (48-45) since the 15:37 mark in the first half.
From there, it was a back-and-forth affair with 14 lead changes the rest of the way.
With Lipscomb trailing 70-69, Southern calmly stepped up and hit two from the charity stripe to take a 71-70 lead with 53 seconds to play.
But ETSU would not go away. Tiana Burley scored two of her 12 points on a layup for ETSU to regain the lead.
Brown called a timeout with 29 seconds to play.
The plan was to originally look for Southern on the inside, where she had dominated all game. But with a collapsed defense, the Lady Bisons showed maturity to reverse the ball back to Cooper, who after a couple of dribbles into the lane, dished the ball to a wide-open Bliss for the go-ahead trey.
“The three from Sara is something we see every day in practice,” Brown said. “That is her spot on the top left hand side and it’s the second time she has hit a shot like that this year.
”The best thing about it is, we ran some action to get a touch inside, but it got reversed back to her and she got the shot off. That shows a lot of growth in our team, that no one panicked. “
Cooper nailed a couple of free throws in the final seconds to secure the win and clinch a berth into the 2014 Atlantic Sun Conference Women’s Basketball Championship that gets underway next week.
Brown liked the effort he got from his bench tonight, even though much of what they did will not show up in the box score.
“I thought Maya Dillard did a very good job for us, Brown said. “ She did a very good job controlling the tempo. A lot of times she got the ball to somebody who then got it to someone else, so she didn’t quite get the assist, but I thought she did a very good job of controlling the game while she was in there.”
The Lady Bisons protected the ball, only coughing it up seven times while forcing ETSU into 20 miscues.
ETSU have five players in double-figures, led by Clark’s 13.
The Lady Bisons wrap up the 2013-14 regular season on Saturday hosting USC Upstate at 1 p.m. at Allen Arena. The game will be carried live on ESPN3.
“You want to be playing your best basketball at the end of the season, and I don’t think there is any doubt that is what we are doing,” Brown said.
“We want to try and finish the season on a high-note and send our seniors out with a win. Those guys have put in a ton of effort, so we want to try and get that win for them.”