Feb. 4, 2006
Lipscomb's Lady Bisons refused to lose despite a couple of late challenges by the Mercer Bears in a rugged 58-47 win Saturday afternoon at Allen Arena.
Lipscomb coach Frank Bennett was expecting an aggressive game from Mercer and he that is exactly what he got.
"It was a gut win," said Bennett. "I was really proud of the team. It was a very, very physical game. It was hard to score. We had to battle to get stops, get rebounds and get loose balls. We were on the floor a lot. And we made some plays and free throws late to open it up a little bit."
The win was the third in a row for the Lady Bisons in Atlantic Sun games.
The Lady Bisons started out strong for the second game in a row, taking a 7-0 lead in the first four minutes of the first half. They held onto the lead, winning 21-15 at the half.
"Nobody could score in the first half," said Bennett. "It was kind of a slow motion fast start. It was so physical it was hard for anybody to score. We weren't shooting the ball quite as sharp as we can. They played great pressure and we were playing good defense so it was very low scoring.
In the second half the Lady Bisons opened up a 12-point lead at 18:14 on a lay-up by Miriam McAlister.
From 12:22 to 10:23 Mercer went on a 7-0 run to trim the Lady Bisons lead to three points at 33-30.
Again Mercer made a comeback seven unanswered points, including a 3-pointer by Mercer's Courtney Hall and a jumper by Rhonda Owens, to pull within two points, the closest they came to the Lady Bisons at 41-39 with 5:42 left.
The Lady Bisons pulled away one last time with a 12-2 run for a 54-41 lead with 1:09 left to play.
"We have been trying to weather storms, not letting people make huge runs at us, and I think we are getting better at that," Bennett said. `Rebounding is part it. People making plays is part of it."
The Lady Bisons held a 49-40 advantage on the boards, one area that Bennett thought was a key to victory. Senior center Katie Beth Pate grabbed a game-high and season-high 15 rebounds, her fifth time to rebound in double figures in the last six games.
Pate also had seven blocks, a season high and one short of her school record of eight, set four times during her career.
"Katie Beth was really big on the boards," said Bennett. "Miriam McAlister had eight. Penny Jones had six. Winning on the boards was huge. We thought the boards would be the biggest factor in who would win."
Woods tied her season high in points with a game-high 18 for the Lady Bisons. Carrigan added 12 points.
"Catie did a great job," said Bennett. "She was having to play a lot of minutes and play a lot of defense. We tried to give her some short rest and play her a little bit as a No. 2 guard. Woods and Carrigan both knocked down big threes for us."
The Lady Bisons shot 34.9 percent from the field. Mercer shot 25.7 percent.
Mercer was led by guard Sarah Russell with 10 points. Center Tanya Kessenich and Rhonda Owens tied for the lead in rebounds for the Bears with eight.
The Lady Bisons are 6-13 overall, 5-7 in the A-Sun. Mercer is 10-9 overall, 7-5 in the conference.
Thursday night the Lady Bisons are on the road to face Gardner- Webb in Boiling Springs, N.C.
"We have a long way to go, but we are making some progress," said Bennett. "Our next step is to try to win some road games or at least get some splits or steal some games on the road.
"Our defense, our rebounding and our toughness are getting better. We might be in a better position to win on the road."