March 7, 2007
The first time the Lady Bisons played in the Atlantic Sun basketball tournament in Dothan, Ala., back in 2004 they came away with the championship.
Back in the tournament this season, after not making the cut last season, Lipscomb coach Frank Bennett would like to see this year's team put three solid games together.
If the No.6-seeded Lady Bisons want to play for three days they have to get by No.3-seed ETSU Thursday night at 6 at the Dothan Civic Center in quarterfinal action. The Lady Bisons split with ETSU this season, losing 71-51 on their home court in Johnson City on Jan. 4 and winning 57-52 at Allen Arena on Feb. 3.
"In the first half at their place we had too many turnovers that they made into easy baskets," Bennett said. "And in the second half there they dominated the boards.
"We had a high turnover rate against them at Allen Arena, but they weren't the types that become lay-ups for the other team. We out-rebounded them at Allen. ETSU is very quick and very athletic defensively. The key factors for us are taking care of the ball and rebounding."
Bennett expects a lower scoring game would be to the Lady Bisons advantage. He is counting on the inside game to step up a notch or two.
"The post position will be a key," Bennett said. "Penny Jones will have to play well and stay out of foul trouble. Rachel Davis, Katie Rollins and Rachel Viehmann will have to give us solid minutes with some scoring, defense and rebounding."
Bennett is expecting the guard play to be solid. He also expects junior point guard Catie Woods, snubbed by the conference coaches for a spot on the All-A-Sun team, will be especially motivated.
"I think Catie had an All-Conference type of year especially if look at her conference only stats which is about two-thirds of the game," Bennett said. "Comparing oranges to oranges she was the No. 6 scorer. She was No. 1 in 3-pointers made. She had a high 3-point percentage. She was a good defender.
"We were in the weight room and she went into the coach's office to check something on the computer. She was a little disappointed when she called it up on the computer and saw that she wasn't on it."
The Lady Bisons did not finish the regular season on a winning note, but Bennett saw signs of improvement in the final two games of the season at North Florida and Jacksonville.
"We feel pretty good," Bennett said. "We are as healthy as we have been since we lost some players early in the season. It is good to be back in the tournament and be involved in the atmosphere and see how excited the city of Dothan is about having us here.
"Even though we lost the games leading up to the tournament, the last three halves we have played, two against Jacksonville and one against North Florida, we played with very good intensity and also played good defense. Our turnovers were up in both games and that probably prevented us from winning, but there were a lot of good signs."
Bennett thinks his players still have a high excitement level despite the struggles of the regular season.
"If you are going to play your best, you have to be excited about a game," Bennett said. "It is a long season and there are times when that is not the case, and you are usually flat on those nights. We could say we finished with some losses and all we are going to do is make an appearance here. But I really think our team thinks they can win some games down here."