Nov. 25, 2006
The Lipscomb Lady Bisons played from behind most of the game, but they took the lead and kept it when it counted as they beat Austin Peay 56-55 in the first round of the 22nd annual Lady Tiger Classic Friday night in Memphis.
The Lady Bisons, 2-2, will face host Memphis, 1-5, Saturday afternoon at 5 in the championship game. Memphis won 90-86 over Central Arkansas, 1-4, in the first game Friday night at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.
The Lady Bisons got a go-ahead jump shot from Rachel Davis with nine seconds left to take the 56-55 lead. Lipscomb point guard Catie Woods took control of an Austin Peay turnover near the buzzer to ice the win.
"Rachel did a little spin to change direction and get open," Lipscomb coach Frank Bennett said. "She was at point blank range from about three feet out. She shot it off of the glass.
"Rachel has practiced better this fall than she has played. In practice she is always scoring over taller players. Against Austin Peay she really pushed her game up a notch. She was taking the ball to the basket and shooting over players who were 6-foot-2 and 6-3."
The Lady Bisons still needed one more big play to seal the game and Woods supplied that.
"When Austin Peay came down court we wanted to let them run some time off the clock," Bennett said. "They made a mistake on the dribble and Catie dove on it and held it until the buzzer went off."
Senior center Penny Jones led the Lady Bisons in scoring with 12 points, including an 8-of-8 performance from the free throw line. Jones also pulled down a game-high nine rebounds. Julie Martin added 11 points.
"Penny did a good job of facing up and shooting," Bennett said. "She was quicker to the basket than the player who was guarding her."
The Lady Bisons hit only 15-of-52 shots from the field, but were 20-of-24 in the free throw line. They shot only 21 percent from the field in the first half, but Bennett was encouraged that despite that shooting performance they were only down 30-22 at the half.
"We really shot poorly in the first half," Bennett said. "I told our team at the half that if we kept on playing solid defense, attacked the basket on offense and took care of the ball we could win."
Bennett credits the Lady Bisons for their perseverance. They gave up their lead at 12-11 with 12:43 left in the first half. Austin Peay's biggest second half lead was nine points at 38-29 with 14:59 left to play.
With 3:25 left on the clock the Lady Bisons went on a 5-0 run to tie the game at 54-54 with 1:19 remaining on shot by Jones. With 31 seconds left Austin Peay's Jacki Goetzke hit the first of two free throws for a 55-54 lead setting the stage for the shot by Davis.
"We would cut the lead to three points and they would pull back ahead by six," Bennett said. "It's hard to always be playing from behind. Our players really showed a lot of character by staying with it until we had the surge at the end."
Defensively, they kept Austin Peay off of the line, committing only 11 fouls for the game. Austin Peay was 2-of-4 in free throws, but hit 23-of-51 from the field for 45.1 percent.
Austin Peay placed three players in double figures. Amber Bacon scored a game-high 15. Kellea Reeves added 12 and Goetzke chipped in with 10.
"Our goal every game is to not make silly fouls," Bennett said. "We don't always do that. But we always have the goal of no fouls."
Two other key stats for the Lady Bisons were their 36-33 rebounding advantage and their 14 turnovers, the lowest total of the season.
"I told our team after the game that this is the kind of team we are," Bennett said. "The way we executed, the way we made defensive stops, the way we were patient in working for our shots and the way we took care of the ball were the way we are as a team.
"This was not a fluke. This is the most solid game we have played this season. We have to believe this is us."
Last season the Lady Bisons watched a big lead disappear as they lost to Memphis 76-74 at Allen Arena on Nov. 29, 2005.
Bennett is looking forward to the re-match.
"This is going to be a tough game," Bennett said. "We left the gym at 11 p.m. so it is going to be a quick turnaround for us.
"I watched Memphis in the first half. It looks like they can shoot the long ball. Last year we had a big lead and we let it get away when Catie Woods left the game. We feel like they took that one from us. We owe ourselves this one."
The win ended a four-game winning streak for Austin Peay against the Lady Bisons. It was the third straight loss on a neutral court for Austin Peay, which fell to 1-3 on the season.