They played Sunday in Morehead, Ky., to close out the Morehead Classic. After practicing Monday coach Frank Bennett gave his players Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday off. Friday afternoon they were back on the court at Allen Arena preparing for Saturday night’s game at Tennessee State University. The tip-off is scheduled for 7 at the Gentry Center.
“We played three games in a row and practiced Monday morning,” said Bennett. “It is nice to have had three days off. Hopefully, we have come back ready to work.”
Both teams won in their last outings. The Lady Bisons, 2-4, beat Presbyterian 52-45 in the Morehead Classic Sunday.
Tennessee State beat Cumberland 60-42 Wednesday night in the first of four straight home games. It was the first win for Tennessee State which started the season 0-3.
“We need to put some games together,” said Bennett. “I feel good about the last two as far as our intensity level and our defense. We didn’t shoot the ball well at all in the last game, but we made some shots late.
“Our defense early on in the season was a weakness, but we seem to have improved there. Hopefully, we will be able to put it together on both ends.”
The Lady Bisons have a 1-4 record overall against Tennessee State, with a 63-55 win last season. The Lady Tigers were picked in the preseason poll to finish third in the Ohio Valley Conference. They return only one starter from last season, Jasmine Smith, a preseason All-OVC selection.
Returning to the court this season after missing the 2009-2009 season with an injury is Oby Okafor, also a preseason All-OVC selection.
“TSU will be a test for us,” said Bennett. “They have a lot of speed. They are long. They press a lot. It will probably come down to taking care of the ball and rebounding.
‘We are playing the top three teams in the preseason OVC poll. Morehead was picked first, Austin Peay was second and TSU was voted third.”
Tennessee State has a great deal of depth as well.
“They will play a lot of people,” said Bennett. “They have one player averaging 23 minutes a game. Everyone else is below 20.”
Bennett will go with the same lineup he used against Presbyterian and Morehead with Jenna Bartsokas and Anna Bowers at the guard spots, Hannah Phillips and Valerie Bronson on the wings and Brittany Duerk in the post.
Bartsokas leads the Lady Bisons in scoring with 11.2 points per game. Bronson is also in double figures with 10.7 per game. Duerk is the top rebounder with 6.8 per game.
Phillips, a freshman, has quickly found herself a niche on the court.
“Hannah is a long defender,” said Bennett. “She can guard any of the perimeter players from point guard to bigger wings. She has good pressure on the ball. She moves her feet well.
“She played good bit in the tournament the last couple of games. She is a good 3-point shooter. In our man offense she can get in the post some and she has a nice turnaround fade-away. She is a pretty good all-around player. She doesn’t lose her head much.”
The Lady Bisons are back on the road Monday when they travel to Cookeville to play Tennessee Tech at 8 p.m.