If they don’t it won’t be for a lack of opportunity. Saturday afternoon in an 81-51 loss to Florida Gulf Coast in Atlantic Sun action at Allen Arena the Lady Bisons freshmen put in some prime time. It was the first loss at Allen Arena for the Lady Bisons this season.
For the second game in a row freshman Clair Waggener started for the Lady Bisons. All five freshmen played in double figures in minutes with three playing 20 or more minutes.
“Hopefully, they are getting some confidence,” said Bennett. “They still make freshmen mistakes. They are making a good effort. They are trying to do what we want them to do.”
Freshman forward Chelsea Burroughs led the Lady Bisons with 16 points, a season-and-career high. She hit six-of-10 shots from the field, including three-of-five 3-point attempts.
Sophomore forward Cree Nix added 11 points for the Lady Bisons. Nix, with a game-high seven rebounds, led the Lady Bisons on the board for the third time in the last four games.
“Chelsea has really practiced hard,” said Bennett. “She has done a lot of good things over the past two or three weeks. We thought we would give her more of an opportunity to play and she played very, very well.
“She was getting good pressure on the ball. She was doing some good things defensively. Offensively, she was being aggressive. She took her shot. She took the ball to the basket some. She looked to the pass the ball. She had an outstanding game for us.”
It was the first time this season that Burroughs had hit a shot from the field. She had one point heading into the Florida Gulf Coast game.
“I don’t know what it is, but somehow Chelsea has become a different player,” said Bennett. “Maybe it is just a matter of her getting familiar with our system and getting comfortable or maybe she has stepped up her intensity level. She is a different player than she was a month ago.”
Post player Brittany Duerk led all freshmen in court time with 26 minutes. Burroughs played 22 minutes. Guard Anna Bowers was on the court for 20 minutes. Forward Leah McAlister played 14 minutes. Waggener, hit with a couple of fouls early in the game, played 10 minutes.
"Clair was trying really hard to get open and displacing the player behind her a little bit,” said Bennett. “Her offensive game is improving. We haven’t seen it in game situations much, but we are seeing it in practice.”
Sophomore guard Jenna Bartsokas, the seventh leading scorer in the Atlantic Sun, hit only one-of-10 attempts from the field. Senior forward Jilian Partin was hit with three charging fouls and managed only two points on five shots.
The Lady Bisons hit 20-of-52 shots from the field for a 38.5 percent rate. Florida Gulf Coast connected on 26-of-60 shots for 43.3 percent.
“We really struggled shooting the ball,” said Bennett. “Some of the players who usually do very well had trouble shooting. We were trying to make plays, but things weren’t falling for us.
“We played them well the start of both halves. At some point they frustrated us with ball pressure. We got to where we were playing out of control. We weren’t patient. We have to be more patient to get the shots we want.”
Florida Gulf Coast placed four players in double figures. Kelsey Jacobson scored a game-high 17 points. Courtney Chihil added 12 points while Chelsea Lyles chipped in with 11 and Brittany Brown added 10.
The Lady Bisons are 2-10, 0-3. Florida Gulf Coast is 9-2, 2-1 in the conference.
Stetson is the next foe for the Lady Bisons Monday night at Allen Arena. Stetson, 5-7, 2-1 in the A-Sun, lost 63-60 at Belmont Saturday afternoon.
“This is a quick turnaround,” said Bennett. “Stetson is playing with a lot of confidence. They upset Florida Gulf Coast at Stetson. It will be a tough game.”