The Lady Bisons made strong runs in both the first and second halves, but fell short with 77-60 loss to Lehigh from the Patriot League in the regular season opener at Allen Arena.
It was the sixth straight home opening loss for the Lady Bisons.
The Lady Bisons pulled within four points at 23-19 with 5:54 left in the first half, but Lehigh scored the next 11 points. The Lady Bisons trailed 35-24 at intermission.
Bennett was more concerned with the rebounding of the Lady Bisons in the first half than the score. Lehigh held a 25-9 edge in rebound in the first 20 minutes. They had 10 offensive rebounds.
In the second half the Lady Bisons held a 23-18 advantage on the boards. Center Brittany Duerk was the top rebounder for the Lady Bisons with seven.
“That was a big step to win the boards in the second half,” said Bennett. “We did a much better job on the defensive end. We don’t have a dominant rebounder. We have to get five rebounders on the boards.”
The Lady Bisons were led by forward Valerie Bronson with 13 points, the only Lady Bisons player in double figures.
Both Duerk and point guard Jenna Bartsokas ended up with nine points.
“Offensively, it is really hurting us that we are missing shots around the basket,” said Bennett. “We are doing everything right, but we are not sticking it in there. That is an area we need to improve for us to make a jump.
“Offensive execution was a little better, but still not what where it needs to be. We are not moving the ball like we do in practice. In the second half we did better. We got some layups off of our back picks and we got some better looks.”
Guard Erica Prosser scored a game-high 27 points, including four 3-pointers. Also in double figures for Lehigh were guard Alex Ross with 16 and center Alexa Williams with 13. Williams also grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds.
The Lady Bisons did force Lehigh into making 21 turnovers. The Lady Bisons made 18 turnovers.
“I thought our defensive intensity was much better,” said Bennett. “Defensively, we got hurt in transition some, but our half-court defense was much better. Forcing 21 turnovers against a team with such veteran guards is a real accomplishment.”
The Lady Bisons are back on the court Sunday afternoon at 3:30 when Central Arkansas visits Allen Arena. Central Arkansas lost 85-76 Friday night at Belmont.
“They have good young players,” said Bennett. “We will build off of the positives and be ready to play Sunday.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Media Relations Director