Lady Bisons improving during break
Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Dec. 14, 2005

The Lady Bisons basketball team has not played a game since Dec. 3, but don't think they haven't been working.

Injuries and exams have been issues to deal during the past couple of weeks, but Coach Frank Bennett and his staff have been working to fix the problems that contributed to the team's 0-6 start.

"We only have one home game in our first eight games," said Bennett. "We played five games in eight days which is almost unheard of at the Division I level. We over scheduled. We will do better when we are at home and our players get healthy."

Center Katie Beth Pate and point guard Catie Woods are not expected to play either Monday night at Wake Forest or Dec. 30 at Florida State as they recover from injuries. They will not be back until Atlantic Sun Conference games begin.

"Four of our five starters have been unable to practice the past week," said Bennett. "They are missing a lot of the work we are trying to emphasize. Kaleigh Gossman is trying a new shoulder brace. Miriam McAlister has been out for most of the week. We hope to get some of them back in the near future."

One area the Lady Bisons are concentrating on is reducing turnovers. They are averaging 30.5 turnovers per game. Many of the baskets the Lady Bisons have been giving up are off of turnovers which lead to fast breaks and lay-ups."

"We have to take care of the basketball," said Bennett. "We had an incredible number of turnovers. We can't win with that number.

"We are playing 10 or more players. Our idea is that if each player could cut off one turnover we would get down to 20 which would be a huge improvement."

In an effort to get his players more accustomed to pressure defenses Bennett has been using male players in scrimmage situations. In some drills players are not allowed to dribble while the defensive players pressure them.

"We are not able to move the basketball to get the shots we want," said Bennett. "Most of our turnovers are occurring fast, within the first three passes. We have to be able to make our passes to get the shots we want and improve our field goal percentage."

Bennett is also working with his players to do a better job of blocking out on the defensive end of the court. Teams are getting too many second and third shots.

"We have spent a lot of time on block out drills," said Bennett. "I really expected us to be a better rebounding team this year than we have been in the last three years because we have more size and better rebounders at the No. 3 position."

Bennett is using freshmen McAlister, Jillian Partin, Katie Rollins and Rachel Viehmann a great deal. He likes the way they are improving and gaining more confidence.

"We have worked on a lot of things and fixed things that needed to be fixed," said guard Dana Carrigan, the only healthy starter in practice. "We have had a couple of weeks of good practice. I think it has helped us out."