Jan. 2, 2007
The Lady Bisons closed out the non-conference portion of their schedule with a loss, but coach Frank Bennett saw more positives than negatives.
The Lady Bisons played La Salle for the first time ever, dropping a 61-47 decision Tuesday night at Allen Arena. La Salle raised its record to 12-3.
"I was really pleased with the effort,' Bennett said. "I was pleased that when we were down we got ourselves back into the game and had a legitimate shot to run it down closer if we had hit a couple of shots."
In the first half the Lady Bisons kept the game close trailing 27-21 at intermission.
The first five minutes of the second half proved to be the turning point in the game as La Salle went on a 17-6 run.
The Lady Bisons refused to go away. La Salle's biggest lead of the game was 21 points (58-37) with 7:14 left in the game. The Lady Bisons trimmed that advantage to 11 points (58-47) on a 3-point shot by Jilian Partin with 3:15 remaining.
"The start of the second half really hurt us," Bennett said. "It wasn't that we flat, but we were leaving their 3-point shooters open. They opened the game up right there."
The Lady Bisons hit 15-of-59 shots from the field, a 25.4 percent rate. They were 5-of-22 from 3-point range, a 22.7 percent success rate. At the free throw line they hit 12-of-18, 66.7 percent.
The Lady Bisons held a 40-32 edge on the boards.
"We couldn't get the ball to fall for us," Bennett said. "We were taking the ball to the basket strong and we were getting good shots. We need to finish our shots around the basket better. I think we have the ability to do that."
"We had a lot better movement of the ball. We only have five turnovers in the second half. That has been a big weakness for us. We also out-rebounded a good rebounding team."
Partin led the Lady Bisons in scoring with 14 points as she made her second consecutive start of the season. Forward Julie Martin scored 10.
"About four or five weeks ago Jilian just picked it up," Bennett said. "In practice she brings us energy every day.
"She has been going to the boards more than anything else. But she has also been driving to the basket. She has become a penetration threat. She is also playing better defense so we are able to use her more."
Center Penny Jones grabbed 11 rebounds, tying her season high and the tying the season high for the team.
"Penny was very aggressive on the boards," Bennett said. "She was also very aggressive looking for shots. Some of them were close, but they just didn't go for her."
La Salle shot 50 percent from the field, hitting 24-of-48 shots. La Salle hit 11-of-19 3-point shots (57.9 percent). From the free throw line they were 2-of-4,
Forward Carlene Hightower led La Salle with a game-high 23 points. Guard Jenna Graber scored 12. Hightower also led La Salle on the boards with nine.
The Lady Bisons are 3-9 overall, 1-1 in the Atlantic Sun Conference. They resume A-Sun play Thursday afternoon at ETSU as part of a double-header with the Bisons in Johnson City,
"We need to try to steal a game or two on the road on this trip," Bennett said. "I thought we played well against La Salle. They are a very good team. They are very well-coached. I thought it was a good effort for us as we go into conference play."