The Lady Bisons weren’t part of that group. They beat Kennesaw State 68-58 Saturday night in Atlantic Sun competition at Allen Arena. The Lady Bisons are 5-4 overall, equaling last season’s victory total for the entire season. They are 2-0 in the A-Sun.
Lady Bisons’coach Frank Bennett is not surprised at how well his team is playing. In fact, he thinks their record should be even better at this stage of the season.
“I thought we had a great chance to be a good team, but you have to go out there and do it,” Bennett said. “We have talked a lot. But we had to stop talking and start doing it.
“We had a really good team effort. I thought each person came in ready to play and made contributions."
It was the third win in a row for the Lady Bisons. It is their longest win streak since the 2007-2008 season when they won four games in a row, all against A-Sun opponents from Feb. 23 through March 6.
Kennesaw State slipped to 2-6, 0-2 in the conference.
Saturday night the Lady Bisons watched a 12-point half time lead, 36-24, become a three-point deficit in the second half, 45-42, with 9:42 left to play. The Lady Bisons had scored the first two points in the second half on a lay-up by center Brittany Duerk to extend the lead to 38-24, the biggest of the game.
Kennesaw State answered with a 13-0 run.
“In the second half we weren’t playing our best,” Bennett said. “We were struggling. We were bobbling balls.”
The Lady Bisons, who did not trail in the first half, didn’t panic. Senior guard Jenna Bartsokas sank a jump shot and was fouled. She also hit her free throw to tie the game at 45-45 with 8:55 on the clock.
“We didn’t come out with a lot of energy, but we kept battling,” Bennett said. “We lost all of our momentum. We lost our lead and were down three.
“That’s when our players really got determined. They made stops. They made rebounds. They made some plays. They had great determination.”
The Lady Bisons showed little or no emotion during good times or bad, simply choosing to go about the business of trying to win the game.
“The game got really physical in the second half,” Bennett said. “It’s easy when things aren’t going your way to get discouraged and lose your head. They were able to quickly calm themselves down and get back into a frame of being focused to play.
“There was no panic. That is a clear difference between this year’s team and last year’s team.”
Forward Valerie Bronson found the range on a 3-pointer with 7:50 left for a 48-45 Lady Bisons lead. They did not trail the rest of the way. “Valerie played well,” Bennett said. “When she keeps her game simple she is going to play well. There were a couple of times in the first half when she didn’t play a simple game.”
Bartsokas scored a game-high 21 points marking the third time this season she has scored 20 or more points. Hannah Phillips added 12 and Jess Reece scored 10, a career high for the freshman center who had missed the last three games due to an injury.
“Jess came off the bench and really gave us a lift,” Reece said. “She has been limited in practice the past three weeks.
“She has a jump hook or baby hook. She has the Philip Hutcheson-John Pierce jump hook that they made famous. She has a knack for that shot and a knack for the basket.”
Angie Smith led Kennesaw State with 18 points. Samantha Gideon was also in double figures with 15.
Bennett was concerned about rebounding. Kennesaw State held a 47-41 advantage. Forwards Leah McAlister and Phillips each had seven rebounds to lead the Lady Bisons.
Gideon finished with a double-double hauling down a game-high 14 rebounds.
A key for the Lady Bisons was their free throw shooting, hitting 17-of-18.
The Lady Bisons are on the road Wednesday night when they travel to Mobile to face South Alabama before taking a short break for Christmas. They will begin the New Year with a visit to Miami on Jan. 1.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.