Dec. 2, 2005
Luck has not been on the side of Lipscomb's Lady Bisons.
For the second game in a row, a shot in the closing seconds has spelled the difference between victory and defeat. This time around it was a 69-68 loss at Kennesaw State Thursday night in the first Atlantic Sun game of the season at the KSU Convocation Center. It was also the first overtime game for the Lady Bisons, 0-5 on the season overall. Kennesaw State is in its first year in the A-Sun, making the move from NCAA Division II.
Despite having lost the last two games by a combined total of three points, including a 76-74 loss to Memphis, Lipscomb Coach Frank Bennett is seeing signs of improvement.
"We really battled throughout the game," said Bennett. "We did a lot of good things throughout the course of the game."
The Lady Bisons started the game strong, taking a 16-8 lead at 12:44 on a lay-up by freshman forward Miriam McAlister. But Kennesaw State chipped away, scoring seven unanswered points to take a 26-24 lead with 3:31 left in the half. The Lady Bisons went into intermission trailing 31-27.
In the second half the Lady Bisons came back strong in the second half scoring six unanswered points of their own to take control once again at 33-31. The game was close the rest of the way with the Lady Bisons finally building a 58-54 lead with 2:15 left to play.
Danielle Bates pulled Kennesaw State within two points at 585-6 on a lay up at 1:30. They tied the game at the buzzer on a jump shot from the free throw line by Shavonder Clarke to send the game into overtime. Clarke led all scorers with 37 points.
"We were in control for a lot of the second half," said Bennett. "We were solid defensively most of the second half."
The Lady Bisons were in a position to win in both the final seconds of regulation and overtime. Four straight turnovers in the final two minutes set the stage for a 58-58 tie in regulation.
"We were one possession away from finishing it," said Bennett. "The last two minutes of a game we need to remember that possession of the ball and the clock are the most important things. "
In overtime the Lady Bisons twice led by four points. A 3-point shot by Ashley Johnson with 11 seconds left proved to be the winning basket. Lipscomb freshman forward Jillian Partin took a lay up shot in the lane with three seconds left that missed its mark.
"She got the ball and took it down the court into the lane," said Bennett. "We got what we wanted with the play, but the shot didn't go in. We have to finish games."
Two areas the Lady Bisons must improve on are cutting down on turnovers and making free throws in crucial situations. The Lady Bisons missed four straight free throws in the final 34 seconds. They hit only 16-of-30 shots for the game. The Lady Bisons also made 43 turnovers while Kennesaw State made 30.
"It's amazing that with so many turnovers it was only a one-point game," said Bennett.
The game was significant in that it marked the return of senior center Katie Beth Pate who had missed the last three games of the season with a back problem. Pate earned her first double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds, both leading numbers for the team. She also made a pair of blocked shots. Rounding out the scoring as the Lady Bisons placed four players in double figures for the second game in a row were forward Kaleigh Grossman and guard Dana Carrigan with 11 each.
McAlister recorded her first double-double of her collegiate career with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
"Katie Beth had a really good game," Bennett said. "She made her shots on offense and got the double-double. She was also a force on the other end of the court."
Starting point guard Catie Woods, however, did not play in the game as the result of an injury sustained in the Memphis game Tuesday night.
"Not having Catie Woods made a big difference," said Bennett. "It depends on how she feels if she will play Saturday or not."
The Lady Bisons are on the road again Saturday afternoon at 12:30 when they visit East Tennessee State, another new addition to the Atlantic Sun Conference.