COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Cold shooting and missed free throws hampered the Lady Bisons in its 2010-11 season opener as they fell to Air Force 64-50 in their first ever meeting at Clune Arena on Friday afternoon.
The Lady Bisons shot 32 percent from the floor in the game and missed nine free throws contributing to the loss.
The Lady Bisons (0-1) found themselves down early as they trailed 6-0 four minutes into the game. Lipscomb misfired on its first seven field goals of the game before Leah McAlister got the Lady Bisons on the scoreboard with a layup with 14:39 left in the first half.
With the Lady Bisons trailing 26-18 with four minutes to go in the first half, the Falcons went on a 10-1 run to close out the half and take a 36-19 lead into the locker room.
“We didn’t execute well in the first half and we ended the half poorly,” head coach Frank Bennett said. “I saw a lot of good things today, especially in the second half. We were down by 19 early in the second half so we kind of dug ourselves a hole, however I liked the way the team responded and how we competed til the end.”
In the second half, Air Force stretched its largest lead of the game to 19 points when they went up 40-21 with 18:52 left. The Lady Bisons would respond to the 19-point deficit by going on a 15-6 run over the next eight minutes to cut the Falcon lead to 46-36 with 10 minutes to play in the game.
After trading baskets back and forth for the next eight minutes, Lipscomb’s Valerie Bronson’s layup with 1:57 left in the game pulled the Lady Bisons within nine but that’s the closest they would get as the Falcons made some free throws to put the game away.
“We got a number of stops in the second half that allowed us to get back into the game. We gave ourselves a chance to get within single digits towards the end of the second half but we struggled shooting the ball the entire game.”
Coming off a 72-67 overtime win against Harding University in exhibition play, the Lady Bisons struggled to convert free throws against the Falcons, making just 5-of-14 shots (36%) from the charity stripe.
The Lady Bisons struggled from long-range as well Friday, making just 22 percent of their three-point attempts (5-of-23).
Air Force won the battle on the boards as they outrebounded the Lady Bisons 54-39. Sophomore Hannah Phillips pulled down a team high seven rebounds while four others had at least five boards.
On a positive note, the Lady Bisons defense held Air Force to a 38 percent field goal percentage for the game and recorded 23 bench points to Air Force’s 16. The Falcons made just 2-of-11 shots from beyond the arc.
The Lipscomb backcourt handled the Air Force full-court press well for most of the game as they finished with 14 turnovers compared to 13 for the Falcons.
“I thought Jess played a nice game and was one of the bright spots," Bennett said.
Junior Anna Bowers led Lipscomb with 12 points while preseason Atlantic Sun All-Conference selection, Jenna Bartsokas added nine. Leah McAlister chipped in eight points and five rebounds off the bench while freshman post Jess Reece finished with seven points (3-of-4 FG), four rebounds and a team-high four blocks.
The Lady Bisons will be back in action next week as they host Tennessee Tech next Thursday, Nov. 18 at Allen Arena, starting at 5 p.m. The Lipscomb men’s basketball game against Austin Peay will follow at 7:15 p.m.