Sunday afternoon at Allen Arena the Lady Bisons stopped a four-game home losing streak with a 94-77 win over USC Upstate. It was the most points the Lady Bisons have scored this season.
“I told them to be like the guys,” said Bennett. “They had lost at Upstate like we did. But they came out and put the pedal to the metal for 40 minutes and never let up Saturday in their win.
“We came out and really pushed the ball. They had a couple of injuries to their post players. We thought if we could push the ball we could wear them down a little bit.”
Bennett had been telling his players they were making progress, but they weren’t seeing an improvement in the win column.
“We needed to see some tangible results with a victory,” said Bennett. “We felt like we were getting better and playing good basketball for the most part. We needed to see that carry over.
“I thought we really played well as a team. We had our best assists game of the season with 21. We were finding people open and finishing a lot better.”
The win also ended a nine-game losing streak for the Lady Bisons, the longest of the NCAA era.
“It is good to get that off of our back,” said Bennett. “We have played well at home this past week. I think we are getting confidence at home.”
The Lady Bisons led 45-38 at halftime, the most points scored in the first half by the Lady Bisons this season. Their 49 points in the second half were also a season high.
It was a balanced offensive attack with nine of 10 Lady Bisons scoring points. Senior forward Jilian Partin led the way with a season-high 21 points. It was the first time this season she has scored 20 or more points and the second time in her career. She had 24 points against Gardner-Webb Feb. 28. 2008.
Partin is only the second Lady Bisons player to score 20 or more points this season. Sophomore guard Jenna Bartsokas scored 25 points at Belmont Jan. 12.
“It seemed like Jilian Partin was everywhere,” said Bennett. “She rebounded, grabbed loose balls and scored well too.
“Jilian is a great competitor. She plays really hard. In the past couple of weeks she has refocused and she has gotten the team to refocus a little bit. She gets tough defensive rebounds and gets offensive rebounds to get us extra chances on that end. She is shooting threes really well right now.”
A season-high five Lady Bisons finished in double figures. Freshman wing player Chelsea Burroughs scored 14. Freshman center Clair Waggener and senior center Katie Rollins each had 13. Bartsokas added 10.
The Lady Bisons shot a season-high 53.8 percent from the field, hitting 35-of-65 shots.
Burroughs, who missed four games, has scored in double figures in two of the last three games since her return.
“It’s good to have Chelsea out there again making 3-pointers, diving on loose balls and getting possessions for us,” said Bennett. “She is a great player coming off of the bench to give us a lift.
“When she makes threes it gives the rest of the team confidence. Jenna and Anna Bowers have been shooting well. We have more weapons now.”
Inside Waggener was a perfect six-of-six from the field. Rollins hit five of her six field goal attempts. Her 14 points were a season high. “Our post players finished a lot better than they have been,” said Bennett. “They were very efficient with their scoring. We did a good job of getting the ball to them.
“They were trying to pressure us some. That gave us a lot of room in there to feed the ball to them.”
Upstate forward Chelsea McMillan scored game-high 25 points. Kolesia Richardson came off of the bench to add 18. Guard Kendra Wallace connected for 15.
McMillan recorded a double-double as she also hauled down a game-leading 11 rebounds. Partin and Rollins each grabbed eight rebounds for the Lady Bisons who held a 42-37 edge.
The Lady Bisons are 5-20 overall, 3-13 in the conference. USC Upstate fell to 11-14, 6-10 in the A-Sun.