Dec. 20, 2007
The Lady Bisons are still feeling growing pains, especially on the road.
Thursday night's 63-52 loss to Tennessee State at the Gentry Center added to the discomfort, but coach Frank Bennett saw signs of progress in some areas.
With the Lady Bisons scheduled to travel to Vanderbilt Saturday at 5:30 for the final game before Christmas break, Bennett also sees some areas that need improvement as well.
"We are doing a lot of good things," Bennett said. "We are improving in some areas. But we just couldn't finish the game off. When you are playing a team on its own floor you have to be a little sharper than what we were to finish it off."
Junior center Katie Rollins took over for the Lady Bisons in the early going. She hit the first two field goals of the game to give Lipscomb a 4-0 lead and topped it off with a 3-point shot that put the Lady Bisons ahead 7-4.
Both teams kept it close in the first half. The Lady Bisons took a brief 15-14 lead on a 3-point shot by freshman point guard Jenna Bartsokas at 12:02.
Tennessee State took over the lead at 16-15. The Lady Bisons would tie the game three more times in the final 4:44 of the half, including 26-26 at intermission on a field goal by junior center Rachel Viehmann.
`Rachel Viehmann gave us some good minutes," Bennett said. "She hit her free throws and got some rebounds."
In the second half Tennessee State made an 8-2 run to start off, but the Lady Bisons refused to give in.
Tennessee State made another run, but couldn't open up a lead of more than three points. With 5:25 left to play Rollins connected on a 3-pointer at the top of the arc to tie the game at 48-48.
"We played hard overall, but we have to make plays a little bit better," Bennett said. "We didn't shoot the ball when we had opportunities."
After that tie Tennessee State went on an 8-3 run forcing the Lady Bisons to have to start fouling in the final 1:15 of the game as the trailed 57-51. In the final 31 seconds Tennessee State connected on all six of their free throws to ice the game as the Lady Bisons managed one free throw by senior guard Catie Woods.
Rollins hit 7-of-17 shots from the field, including 2-of-4 3-point attempts to lead the Lady Bisons in scoring with 17 points. It was the fourth game in a row she has led the team in scoring. She was the only Lady Bisons player in double figures.
"Katie has been doing a good job inside," Bennett said. "We are doing a better job of feeding her the ball."
Junior forward Jilian Partin grabbed 11 rebounds for the Lady Bisons, a game-high and a personal season high. She also tied her career high which she set twice last season. She joins Bronson as the only two players on the team to post double figures in rebounding.
Four Tennessee State players finished in double figures with Kendra Appling scoring a game-high 18 points. Obiageli Okafor and Charisse Hicks each had 15. Tiffany Jackson pitched in with 10. Jackson and Okafor each recorded a double-double. They each had 10 rebounds.
"It opened up in the last couple of minutes when we had to foul some because we weren't converting on our end," Bennett said. "We weren't as solid as needed to be defensively. We did some reaching and lunging for balls and helped create offensive for them."
The Lady Bisons are 2-9. Tennessee State is 4-7.