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Wednesday, September 16, 2009It is not the official start of preseason practice, but Wednesday afternoon Lady Bisons coach Frank Bennett got to look at his players in a five-on-five situation as part of their individual workout schedule.
Based on what was seen on the court the Lady Bisons will play a more up tempo game, concentrating on moving the ball up and down the court and finding a shot early in the offense.
“This is the first time we have been able to have the team together for individual skill work,” said Bennett. “We are trying to get a feel for what they can do in five-on-five situations and they are trying to get a feel for what each other can do.
“We are emphasizing trying to push the ball and trying to create easy baskets if possible early in the offense. The idea is to try to score in the first 10 seconds. If we can’t do that we want to be patient and try to score at 20 seconds or below.”
Bennett and his staff spent the time introducing new offensive concepts to the team. There was a level of uncertainty as they worked on the plays for the first time.
“We are doing a lot of back screening,” said Bennett. “We are trying to be more solid with our down screens. We are trying to look for opportunities to drive the ball in open areas.
“It is really a lot different than it has been in the past. I think it will be very good.”
Bennett liked some of the things he saw from individuals, especially a couple of the freshmen.
“Kaitie Fritts made a really nice strong low post move,” said Bennett. “She is very strong. I feel like she has a knack for putting the ball in the basket in the low post, too.”
It is quickly evident that junior guard Jenna Bartsokas has spent the summer working hard on all aspects of her game.
“Jenna is in the gym all of the time,” said Bennett. “She has had two strong years in the A-Sun and is poised to have a tremendous year. She is a very solid all-around player offensively and defensively. “
Brittany Duerk and Clair Waggener, both sophomore post players, also have shown dramatic improvement.
Bennett also likes what he saw early from wing Valerie Bronson and guards Anna Bowers and Toia McGowan.
Bennett said he and his staff have emphasized not talking about the past seasons for the Lady Bisons. Even though his 30th season as head coach will prompt a lot of reminiscing, Bennett prefers to take a forward look.
“It is exciting to be getting ready for a new season,” said Bennett. “This is a fresh start and fresh team. Hopefully, it will be one of our best seasons.
“I think the players have had good attitudes. They are coachable. They want to learn. They want to work hard. It says a lot for their character that they have stayed together and are determined to have a better season this year.”