That stat is safe for another season as the Lady Bisons beat Belmont 73-59 Thursday night at Allen Arena. The Lady Bisons lost to Belmont 56-52 Jan. 13.
“We have had a good week so far,” Lady Bisons coach Frank Bennett said. “It is a time we need to be playing well with so many games so close together.
“I liked the intensity we played with particularly the last seven or eight minutes. I thought we played really good basketball. Belmont has so many three-point shooters. When you start counting by threes those leads can disappear pretty quickly.”
Bennett was also concerned about Belmont’s rebounding. Belmont held a 41-33 edge on the boards, grabbing 12 offensive rebounds.
“We had to really battle on the boards,” Bennett said. “We were giving up too many offensive rebounds in the second half.”
The Lady Bisons led 28-22 at intermission after trailing the first 11 minutes. The Lady Bisons led by 13, 28-15, with 3:20 left in the first half. But Belmont scored seven unanswered points to close out the half.
In the second half Belmont challenged several times, but the Lady Bisons never trailed or were tied in the final 20 minutes. The Lady Bisons biggest lead of the game was 21 points, 72-51, with 2:10 remaining.
“We were much more aggressive,” Bennett said. “We played better defense. In our last game with USC Upstate we thought we had a lot of defensive breakdowns. We didn’t have those against Belmont for the most part.”
The Lady Bisons were led by senior guard Jenna Bartsokas with a game-high 25 points. It was the third time in her career that she has scored more than 20 points against Belmont. It was the seventh time this season she has scored 20 or more points in a game.
Also in double figures for the Lady Bisons were junior guard Anna Bowers with 14 and junior center Brittany Duerk with 10.
In every win this season the Lady Bisons have had three players score in double figures.
Junior forward Leah McAlister led the Lady Bisons in rebounds with seven.
Belmont was playing without center Haley Nelson, their top scorer and rebounder.
“That hurt them a little bit,” Bennett said. “She has double-doubles fairly often.”
Guard Molly Ernst led Belmont with 17 points. Center Alyssa Visbeen finished with 12.
Belmont guard Shaunda Strayhorn had a game-high eight rebounds.
The Lady Bisons ended a five-game losing streak. Their record is 8-12 overall, 5-6 in the A-Sun.
Belmont lost its fourth game in a row, dropping to 7-13 overall and 4-7 in the conference.
“We have to be more consistent,” Bennett said. “There were times in the game where we messed around and made little mistakes here and there.
“In the second half we got defensive stops. Miaca Bowman and Anna Bowers really set a tone for our defense. We didn’t allow very much in transition.”
The Lady Bisons shot 43.5 percent from the field, hitting 27-of-62 shots. They were 33.3 percent from beyond the arc, hitting seven-of-21.
“Offensively, we were pushing the ball and making good decisions,” Bennett said. “Sometimes when we push the ball we shoot fair or poor shots. And sometimes when we push and there is nothing there we stand around.
“But against Belmont we got the push and looked for the easy shot if it was there. If it was not there the ball was moving and our players were moving making plays 10 or 15 seconds later.”
The Lady Bisons are back in action at home Saturday when Florida Gulf Coast visits for a 6:30 game at Allen Arena.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.