The Lady Bisons dropped a 76-36 decision to host Dayton in the second annual Dayton Flyer Classic Sunday at the UD Arena, will face former Atlantic Sun Conference foe Gardner-Webb in the consolation game. Gardner-Webb (5-5) fell 79-56 to Bowling Green State (9-2) in the first round.
The Lady Bisons are 2-8. Dayton, an Atlantic 10 Conference member, is 10-4.
The consolation game will tip-off at 4 p.m. Gardner-Webb, a new member of the Big South Conference, has lost three straight games. The Lady Bisons will be out to break a four-game losing streak.
The Lady Bisons had spent much of their 18-day layoff between games studying for finals or going through some of the more intense practices of the season. Coach Frank Bennett knows that traditionally the first game after the Christmas break has been a less than successful one for the Lady Bisons.
“We said nothing about his before the game, but the tradition every year I have coached is that the game after Christmas has not been a real good game for us,” said Bennett. “Usually we play pretty well in the next game after that.”
Dominique Hudson led Gardner-Webb in the loss to Bowling Green State with 13 points. Courtney Epps added 11 and LaTroya Pope chipped in with 10.
“We are very familiar with Gardner-Webb,” said Bennett. “There is only one player in their top eight that was not a key player last year for them. They are a very physical team. They are well-coached. They try to disguise their defenses. It will be a good challenge for us.”
The Lady Bisons spotted Dayton a 9-0 lead. They trailed 9-4 with 15:27 left to play in the first half but were never able to get any close. They went into the dressing room at intermission trailing 38-18.
For the game the Lady Bisons shot 25.8 percent from the field (16-of-62). They were one-of-13 from 3-point range, 7.7 percent.
Bennett found encouragement in the shot selection of the Lady Bisons. Most of theit attempts were sound decisions, but the ball just wouldn't drop.
“We had some shots that were makeable,” said Bennett. “We played a little bit out of control. They were good enough defensively that they could force us to go to second, third and fourth options and still keep the tempo.
“I thought in the second half we got much better quality looks. We still missed some open shots. We missed some power shots at the basket and missed some open threes and jumpers. But we were getting good looks and that is the important thing. Those shots will start falling for us.”
Sophomore guard Jenna Bartsokas hit the first two field goals for the Lady Bisons, who missed their first seven shots. She also hit the only 3-point shot for the Lady Bisons. She was the only Lady Bisons player in double figures with 11. She has scored in double figure in nine of the 10 games so far this season.
Senior forward Jilian Partin grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds. It was her first double figures performance in rebounding since she pulled down 11 at Austin Peay Nov. 15 in the season opener.
Bennett hopes that the Lady Bisons learned some lessons from the game.
\ “If we are patient and keep probing defenses and keep moving we should be able to get quality shots,” said Bennett. “We need to be more aware of the shot clock when it is running down. We kind of took it too deep a few times with one or two players not being aware of what was happening.
“I felt good about the way we played in the second half, except for making some shots,” said Bennett. “Defensively, I thought we did a pretty good job of sticking in our zone and challenging their shots. It has been a pretty good defense for us overall, but we gave up too many second shots.”
The Lady Bisons, who spent a a great deal of time during the holiday break working on the inside game, showed a more physical side around the basket.
“We need to learn to play a more physical game because that is the way it is going to be a lot of times,” said Bennett. “I thought we were attempting to block out a lot better overall. They were going three or four inches taller than us at a lot of positions. I don't think we will see a lot of teams with that kind of overall size.”
The Lady Bisons are back on their home court Jan. 3 to welcome in the new year when Florida Gulf Coast visits as part of an A-Sun doubleheader.