Lipscomb coach Frank Bennett hopes that is the case for his Lady Bisons basketball team. For the third time this season the Lady Bisons lost a game by two or fewer points. Thursday night it was a 66-64 loss to Kennesaw State at Allen Arena in an Atlantic Sun game.
On Dec. 4 the Lady Bisons lost 52-51 at North Florida. At the Dayton Flyer Classic on Dec. 29 the Lady Bisons fell 66-64 to Gardner-Webb.
“I thought we played with good intensity,” said Bennett. “We played hard. We mostly played well. A lot of times when there is a last second shot and it goes against you then you feel horrible. And if it goes your way you feel great even though you played the same either way.”
The Lady Bisons only have one day to prepare for a visit Saturday afternoon from Mercer, a 71-69 loser at Belmont Thursday night.
“I know our players are hurting,” said Bennett. “I feel bad for them to lose a game like this for the third time.
“You have to have a lot of character to put a game like this behind you and focus on the next task. We will focus on Mercer in practice and try to build on the positives of this game.”
The Lady Bisons scored the first points of the game when sophomore forward Cree Nix connected on a jump shot. The Lady Bisons led the rest of the first half, holding a 12-point advantage on three occasions. At intermission the Lady Bisons led 35-23, tying for their biggest first half lead of the season. In their 69-54 win over Campbell Jan. 8 they also led by 12 points (31-19).
In the second half the Lady Bisons also struck first with sophomore guard Jenna Bartsokas connecting on a 3-pointer for a 38-23 lead. But Kennesaw State started chipping away.
With 14:34 left in the game Kennesaw State cut the lead to four, 40-36. They tied the game at 47-47 at 10:07. With 9:19 remaining Kennesaw State took its first lead of the game, 48-47 on a free throw by DeAndrea Bullock.
The game would remain close the rest of the way with neither team leading by more than three points.
With 42 seconds left to play Clair Waggener, a freshman post player for the Lady Bisons, connected on a lay-up to cut Kennesaw State’s lead to 63-62.
Waggener then grabbed a rebound and was fouled with 17 seconds to go in the game. She connected on both shots to move the Lady Bisons ahead 64-63.
“Clair played great down the stretch,” said Bennett. “She played good defense on Brittany Henderson, their all-conference player. She drove to the basket for a lay-up and got a couple of key rebounds, especially that last one. She wanted the ball. She wanted to make plays.”
Bennett also praised the play of freshman forward Brittany Duerk who tied her season high with eight points while also grabbing four rebounds.
With one second left Greteya Kelley sank a 3-pointer to seal the win for Kennesaw State.
“In the second half I thought our defense broke down a little bit as far as allowing a lot of penetration,” said Bennett. “That got them going. We didn’t contain the ball very well. We didn’t get very good help in the gaps.
“On the offensive end we turned the ball over a few too many times early and in the mid-part of the second half. That’s when the game started to swing.”
Bartsokas barely missed her third 20-point game, finishing with a game-high 19 points. Waggener scored 10 points for the second game in a row.
Nix and senior forward Jilian Partin combined for 17 rebounds.
Kelley and Bullock each scored 16 points for Kennesaw State. Jennifer Baker added 11.
The Lady Bisons slipped to 4-14 overall, 2-7 in the A-Sun. Kennesaw State is 7-9, 4-4 in the conference.