March 1, 2008
Lipscomb's Lady Bisons will be riding a three-game winning streak into the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament this week.
The Lady Bisons beat Campbell 69-60 in overtime to close out the regular season at Allen Arena. It was the first overtime game of the season. It is the first time this season the Lady Bisons have won three games in a row. It was also the only team the Lady Bisons swept this season, having won 58-50 at Campbell Jan. 7.
The Lady Bisons will be the No. 5 seed in the tournament which starts Wednesday at Lipscomb's Allen Arena. They will play Belmont, the No. 4-seed, at 6 p.m. Thursday.
"After we lost at USC-Upstate a week-and-half ago I talked to the team," said Lipscomb coach Frank Bennett. "I gave the talk that Pat Summit gave her team at the University of Tennessee when they weren't playing well. She told her players to get together and work it out.
"I left the dressing room and let our players talk with each other. They talked about our goals we had for the tournament. They worked it all out and have been playing with a lot of emotion."
Bennett thought the game was a good final test before the tournament begins.
"It was good to play a game that was this close," Bennett said. "We won in our own building. We came from behind to win. That should give us a lot of confidence heading into the tournament."
The Lady Bisons jumped out to a 12-3 lead with 13:14 left in the first half. They held onto the lead until guard Jessica Mack connected on a jumper with 6:43 on the clock for an 18-16 lead.
Both teams played the rest of the first half close with neither team leading by more than three points. With 1:04 before intermission freshman guard Jenna Bartsokas hit a pair of free throws to give the Lady Bisons a 26-24 lead,
But at the buzzer Lindsay Smithberger threw up a prayer of a shot that found the basket for a 3-point play and a 27-26 Campbell lead.
The second half was much like the final minutes of the first with both teams trading leads.
With 3:17 left in the game Smithberger tipped in a shot to give Campbell a 56-51 edge.
The Lady Bisons responded with seven unanswered points junior wing player Jillian Partner hitting a lay-up to start the run at 3;12. Junior center Kaleigh Gossman hit a pair of free throws. Partin and Bartoskas each added one free throw as the Lady Bisons led 58-56 with 25 seconds in regulation.
"In the past when a team did that to us we would be done," Bennett said. "But we made some stops and made some shots and came back. We also hit our free throws when we needed them."
Smithberger again connected at the buzzer to send the game into overtime with the score knotted 58-58.
The overtime was dominated by the Lady Bisons who outscored Campbell 9-2 in the five-minute period,
Gossman started things off with a tip-in at 4:06. Partin followed with a lay-up at 3:14. Gossman hit a 10-footer at 2:12 for a 65-58 Lady Bisons lead. Partin scored the final four points, hitting four free throws in a row to seal the win.
Gara Bell hit the only shot for Campbell with a tip-in with 1:44 left to play.
Partin earned her second double-double in a row and her sixth of the season with a team-high 16 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. It was the third time this season she has hauled down 13 rebounds.
Also in double figures for the Lady Bisons were Gossman with 14 points, Bartsokas with 13 and junior center Katie Rollins with 10.
Mack scored a game-high 17 points and also finished with a double-double with a team-high 10 rebounds for Campbell.
The Lady Bisons are 9-21 for the season, 7-9 in the A-Sun. Campbell slipped to 12-17, 7-9 in the conference.