Feb. 3, 2007
Lipscomb basketball coach Frank Bennett didn't mince any words when he rated the importance of the Lady Bisons 57-52 upset win over ETSU.
"It is probably our best win in 2 ½ years," Bennett said. "They were within a couple of possessions of being tied for first in the league. They are a very good, very talented team. It was a great win for us. I think it builds our confidence."
It was only the third Atlantic Sun Conference loss of the season for ETSU. Belmont, the No.1 team in the conference, has beaten ETSU twice. It was the first time in four games that the Lady Bisons have beaten ETSU.
"Coming into this game we had only been competitive with ETSU in one half," Bennett said. "The other five halves we had not been competitive. It was a real step up to be able to handle their tremendous defensive pressure.
"We still had a lot of turnovers and we didn't shoot a great percentage. But we got enough out of it. Our team really wanted it and battled hard."
Bennett, whose team has won back-to-back games, credited the fans who attended the Saturday evening game at Allen Arena for helping to make a difference. The Lady Bisons are 5-6 in the conference.
"Our crowd helped make the difference," Bennett said. "It was very loud in here."
The game was a dogfight from the start. Both teams struggled offensively for much of the first half. With 10:01 left to play before intermission the Lady Bisons held a 10-8 lead.
The Lady Bisons scored first on a lay-up by center Rachel Viehmann at 17:11. The Lady Bisons gave up the lead only one time in the first 19:30 minutes, when they trailed 6-5 with 14:16 left.
The Lady Bisons led by five points on two different occasions, the last at 25-20 on a lay-up by guard Toia McGowan.
ETSU rallied, tying the game on a 3-point shot by Michele DeVault at 25-25 with 1:56 left in the first half. ETSU took the lead at 27-25 with 1:27 left on a lay-up by Kelly Turman. A pair of free throws by Turman with 11 seconds on the clock gave ETSU a 29-25 advantage at intermission.
ETSU stayed in control to start the second half, building an eight-point lead (45-37) with 10:24 left in the game. Bennett called that point of the game as the most crucial.
"If we had let them get two or three baskets more it would have gotten out of range," Bennett said. "We got it closer and put pressure on them.
"We have had a few come-from-behind wins this year. That was the mark of our A-Sun Championship team, They came from behind in a lot of games and pulled them out. We have a pretty veteran line-up. That maturity and experience is paying off."
The Lady Bisons continued to chip away, taking the lead for the first time in the second half at 49-48 on a pair of free throws by Jones at 3:06.
In the final 37 seconds Jones hit six straight free throw attempts to ice the game for the Lady Bisons. She was a season-high 10-of-10 from the free throw line for the game.
Woods and Jones both scored 22 points, season and career highs for both of them. It was the first time Jones has scored 20 or more points as a Lady Bison. Woods was double-teamed and triple-teamed for most of the game.
"I was very proud of Penny," Bennett said. "She came out and really battled. She wanted the ball. She took it strong to the basket. She got the ball in traffic and was still able to get the ball up even when she was triple-teamed. She was good on the boards too.
"She played the way she is capable of doing. Our players did a good job of getting the ball to her. They pressure the perimeter so hard we were able to get the ball inside."
The Lady Bisons hit 19-of-52 shots from the field, 36.5 percent. They were five-of-18 from 3-poiut range (27.8) and 14-of-17 from the free throw line (82.4).
The Lady Bisons controlled the boards (44-41) with Jilian Partin leading the way with eight.
ETSU placed three players in double figures. DeVault and Brooke Wilhoit each scored 11. Siarre Evans chipped in with 10.
ETSU shot 26.2 percent from the field (17-of-65) and five-of-19 from 3-point range (26.3), ETSU was hot from the free throw line hitting 13-of-14 attempts (92.9).
The Lady Bisons 7-14, overall are on the road for their next three games. The first stop is Thursday night at Stetson at 6.
ETSU, slipped to 8-3 in the conference, 12-9 overall.