Feb. 17, 2007
The Lady Bisons gave the Belmont Bruins a good scare, but they couldn't pull off the upset.
Belmont, the top team in the Atlantic Sun Conference, prevailed 67-53 in a game that was truly closer than the final score indicates.
In the women's basketball version of the "Battle of the Boulevard", the Lady Bisons outscored Belmont 17-8 in the first eight minutes of the second half to turn a 32-22 deficit into only a 40-39 disadvantage.
Belmont pulled six points ahead at 48-42 with nine minutes left to play on a lay-up by Shaunda Strayhorn. The Lady Bisons cut the lead back to three points at 48-45 with 6:12 left on a lay-up by point guard Catie Woods.
"I'm proud of how we came back," Lipscomb coach Frank Bennett said. "We are executing some things and getting some shots. Hopefully, we can keep getting closer with each game."
In the final six minutes Belmont turned the tide on the way to the final score.
"We had to come back from a long distance. You expend so much energy getting there that psychologically you have to work on getting over the hump instead of saying we are caught up and then kind of relaxing.
"You have to keep pushing when you catch up to them. That is a hard thing to do. When they jumped back out ahead it just gave us another mountain to climb."
In the first half Belmont led by as many as 15 points on two occasions.
"In the first half we were playing really poorly offensively," Bennett said. "Earlier in the year we would have lost this game in the first half. We have gotten to the point where we can hang in."
The Lady Bisons were led by Woods with 14 points and forward Rachel Davis with 10. Davis also led the team in rebounding with seven. The new level at which Davis is playing has been a bright spot late in the season for the Lady Bisons.
"Rachel has made huge progress," Bennett said. "Somehow it has clicked for her about focusing and not losing concentration and wasting possessions. She has had four games in a row where she has had very few mental mistakes. She has become a legitimate scorer.
"We have emphasized conditioning with her. She has been doing a lot of extra work on her own on our off days. She is in the best shape of her life."
The Lady Bisons shot 35.7 percent from the field, hitting 20-of-56 shots. They were four-of-19 from 3-point range, 22.2 percent. From the free throw line the Lady Bisons hit nine-of-15 attempts, 60 percent.
Alsysha Clark scored a game-high 20 points for Belmont. Amber Rockwell added 14.
Belmont was 24-of-62 for 38.7 percent from the field, including seven-of-19 from beyond the arc, 36.8 percent success rate. Belmont hit 12-of-16 attempts from the free throw line, 75 percent.
Clark and Tereva Moore each had nine rebounds as Belmont held a 41-39 edge on the boards.
"The first game this season they killed us on the boards," Bennett said. "In the first half we had the edge and we finished within two. We had a good effort on the boards."
The Lady Bisons are 6-8 in the A-Sun, 8-16 overall. They play two final home games with Gardner-Webb visiting Thursday at 7 and Campbell coming to Allen Arena at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Belmont is 13-1 in the conference, 19-5 overall.