Dec. 15, 2007
Winning is always important, but the non-conference games of November and December are designed to make a team stronger and better prepared for conference play.
Such is the case for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons who fell 83-71 to Murray State from the Ohio Valley Conference Saturday night at Allen Arena. The Lady Bisons are 2-8 overall. Murray State improved to 8-2 as they extended their winning streak to five games.
"Our intensity was pretty good," said Lipscomb coach Frank Bennett. "We only had 12 turnovers with the three perimeter players only making two. That was great progress there.
"We haven't shot the ball as well I expected us to from the outside. I think that is going to come."
The Lady Bisons spotted Murray State a 10-0 lead before center Katie Rollins connected with a 3-pointer with 16:47 left before intermission.
Despite opening with a double-figure deficit the Lady Bisons fought back. With 10:36 on the clock freshman point guard Miaca Bowman connected on a 3-point shot to cut the Murray lead to 21-18.
With 9:31 remaining in the first half they pulled to within three points at 23-20 on a jumper by freshman forward Valerie Bronson.
That was as close as the Lady Bisons would get in the first half. Murray State led 45-34 at intermission.
Bennett is one victoru awau from his 550th.
Murray led by double figures most of the second half, but they only outscored the Lady Bisons 38-37 in the final 20 minutes.
"They had 45 points in the first half and 54 percent shooting for the game," Bennett said. "Wee can't give the other team that many points. We have to hold them to the 50s or 60s.
"I thought we did some good things at times. But even when we made runs at them Murray State would end up getting a basket. We were careless when we made stops. We had some turnovers because we weren't protecting the ball and we had some on the exchange between the post and the guards on the outlet pass. Those are killers when you are making a run when they come right back and get an easy shot."
Rollins scored 18 points for the Lady Bisons, a career-high, hitting 7-of-14 from the field including a perfect 2-of-2 from 3-point range and 2-of-2 from the free throw line.
It was the third game in row that Rollins has led the Lady Bisons in scoring and the fourth time this season. She average over 14 points a game in her last three games.
"Everything is really clicking for Katie," Bennett said. "We are doing a better job of getting her the ball and a better job of executing our offense.
"Tiffany Arnold also came in and made some big baskets. We were pretty efficient getting the ball into the post."
Bronson added 15 points. She has scored in double figures in two games this season.
"At the beginning of the year Valerie was not playing," Bennett said. "She just caught our attention. She has played pretty good on the road in Hawaii and at Kansas State.
"As a freshman she has her ups and downs. But she has the ability to score. She can create her shot. She can do a lot of things. She gave us a big lift against Murray State."
The Lady Bisons shot 40.4 percent from the field, hitting 23-of-57, including 48 percent (12-of-25) in the second half.
Murray State placed four players in double figures. Guard Amber Guffey led all scorers with 23 points. Forward Ashley Hayes added 19 followed by Paige Guffey with 16 and Shaleea Petty with 14.
Murray State shot 54.1 percent from the field, hitting 33-of-61 shots, including 10-of-20 3-point attempts.
Hayes finished with a double-double as she grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds. Murray State held a 37-30 advantage on the boards.
The Lady Bisons made only 12 turnovers. Murray State committed 14.
The Lady Bisons end the pre-Christmas schedule with two short road trips. They play Tennessee State Thursday night and go to Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Bennett is one win away from his 550th victory.