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Lady Bisons picked first in both A-Sun preseason polls

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Oct. 27, 2005

Preseason polls don't mean very much to most teams. And for the Lady Bisons basketball team they mean even less.

So it isn't very surprising that there was little excitement in Allen Arena this week when it was announced that the Lady Bisons had been picked by both the Coaches Poll and the Media Poll to win the Atlantic Sun Conference regular season title.

"I was kind of surprised," said Lady Bisons Coach Frank Bennett who is entering his 26th season as head coach of the Lipscomb program. "If you look at the poll it is pretty wide open. It is an honor that the coaches and media would recognize us this way."

The Lady Bisons have been there before. After tying for the regular season title and winning the tournament championship for the 2003-2004 season the Lady Bisons were selected last season to win the A-Sun regular season title. They finished tied for sixth with a 10-11 record that included a first round loss to Georgia State in the A-Sun Tournament.

"This is a very exciting time,' Bennett said. "We lost a lot of close games last year. Our top two classes have been to the championship before and want to get back. That is a big motivation for the team.

"There are a lot of very good coaches and a lot of very good teams in the conference. The tournament is where things are going to be decided."

In the Coaches Poll the Lady Bisons received two votes for first place. Stetson and Florida Atlantic each had three first place votes. Gardner-Webb had two first place votes. Belmont received one.

In the Media Poll the Lady Bisons also had two first place votes. Stetson had four votes for first. Belmont, ETSU and Florida Atlantic also had two votes each for first place.

"Five teams in each poll received votes for first place," Bennett said. "Florida Atlantic and Stetson received more votes than we did. That, and the fact that we didn't finish as well as we would have liked to last year makes it a little surprising to me. So many teams have lost players. I think it is going to be wide open."

Injuries are more a concern than polls for Bennett. Since last season his players have undergone six surgeries. Junior forward Julie Martin is out for the season after surgery earlier this month for a turf toe injury.

"We've had several practices with six players either out or limited," Bennett said. "That has been the only down side of it. I've been excited about our practices and working with the new players and the returning players. The injuries have been the only damper."