They had only one day to prepare for Mercer, the final opponent of the season. Game time Saturday is 2 p.m. at Allen Arena. The Lady Bisons beat Kennesaw State 64-56 Thursday night. Mercer dropped a 53-40 game at Belmont.
The Lady Bisons enter the game with a 5-24 record, 3-16 in the A-Sun. Mercer is 13-15 overall, 10-9 in the conference. The Lady Bisons have an 8-6 advantage in the series all-time.
“It’s not ideal,” Bennett said of the short preparation time. “We went over what Mercer does offensively and defensively and how we will attack their defense and how we will execute our offense and what we will try to do against their zone attack.
“There are so many games close together in January and February. We don’t get quality practice time. We cut back time-wise because of fatigue. It’s all focused on the next game. You don’t have time to work on weaknesses and develop skills.”
Bennett is hopeful that the win over Kennesaw State will give his team the extra confidence it needs on Homecoming Day.
“The win against Kennesaw gave us a big boost and took a weight off of our backs,” Bennett said. “Mercer will be a tough challenge. They play a very strong and physical game. It would be great to win this one to finish the season.”
The Lady Bisons will also be saying good-bye to their lone senior, Toia McGowan. She will be honored as part of Senior Day.
“She has come to practice every day and given a good effort. She has kept the team loose. She has been a good leader this year. She has kind of been the one to encourage the team and helped them to get focused.”
Mercer is led by a pair of senior guards, Courtney Ford and LaToya Jackson. Ford leads the team in both points (16.8) and rebounds (7.9) per game. Jackson averages 12.8.
“They have very strong guards,” Bennett said. Ford has 11 double-doubles and a couple of triple doubles. She is very active and smart. She can score in a variety of ways.
“Latoya Jackson is a very good 3-point shooter. She is the one that hurt us late in the game down there when the game was tight. She is also a very good free throw shooter.”
The Lady Bisons are led by junior guard Jenna Bartsokas with 12.7 points per game. Sophomore center Brittany Duerk is the rebound leader with 5.5.
Bennett has been pleased with the Lady Bisons defensive efforts, but he would like to see them end the season with a strong offensive showing.
The Lady Bisons would also like to avoid a sweep. They lost 69-59 at Mercer Dec. 3 to open the A-Sun portion of the season.
Defensively Mercer plays a little bit of an unusual type zone,” Bennett said. “It is the same type that we run. They gave us some problems down there with their zone. We have to attack their zone and shoot the ball with confidence.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations