Lipscomb Lady Bisons coach Frank Bennett has called upon his team for a recommitment from his players.
That commitment will be tested Thursday night at 4:15 when the Lady Bisons, 4-22, 2-14 in the Atlantic Sun, face Florida Gulf Coast at Alico Arena in Fort Myers, Fla. Florida Gulf Coast is 20-5 overall, 15-2 in the conference. The Golden Eagles are 12-0 on their home court this season. The Lady Bisons are 0-11 on the road.
“We have had our players renew their commitments to the things they can bring to the team,” Bennett said. “We asked them to think about and write down what they can bring to the team. As coaches we assessed what we need from each player, what they do best and what they could do better. We combined those in writing and had the players sign them.”
Bennett wants his players to be ready for every game, every practice and every shoot-a-round in the final stretch of the regular season.
“We want our leaders to get us ready to play,” Bennett said. “I think the response was positive based on how we practiced.”
Freshman forward Morgan Faulkner is coming off a double-double with 14 points and a team season high 12 rebounds against USC Upstate Feb. 11. It was Faulkner’s first career collegiate start.
“We started Morgan because she had been practicing well the week before that,” Bennett said. “She gives you a slasher who can go to the basket, finish the shot and get fouled. She is a pretty good outside shooter as well.”
The Lady Bisons lost 67-44 to Florida Gulf Coast Jan. 4 at Allen Arena.
“Overall we played fairly well against them,” Bennett said. “In the second half they made a few threes against our zone to open it up.
“They are really hard to guard. They don’t run plays. They run a motion offense where they read defenses. And they are really good at doing it.”
Florida Gulf Coast is led by Chelsea Lyles with 12.6 points and Adrianne McNally with 12.5 points per game. Both are senior forwards. Junior guard Shannon Murphy is averaging 11.5 points per game. Sophomore guard Courtney Chihil is the top rebounder with 6.2 per game.
Florida Gulf Coast was upset 57-56 by North Florida Saturday.
“They have been the top team in the league and North Florida didn’t do us a favor by beating them,” Bennett said. “I’m sure that will give them extra motivation to play well against us.
“They are really strong at home. They have had pretty big margins on their home court this year. They will be a defensive challenge for us.”
Junior guard Jenna Bartsokas leads the Lady Bisons in scoring with 11.5 points per game. Sophomore center Brittany Duerk leads in rebounds with 5.7 per game. She is sidelined due to illness.
The Lady Bisons will also be missing two other players. Sophomore forward Chelsea Burroughs is out for the season with an injury and freshman center Chelsea McMeans is also sidelined with an injury.
“Brittany may be back a little bit this weekend,” Bennett said. “She will, at best, play in very short bursts. We have missed her rebounding. She has been scoring tough baskets inside.”
“Chelsea Burroughs is out for the year. Chelsea was a sparkplug with her hustle. She was always on the floor battling somebody and making a lot of contact during a game.”
The Lady Bisons play their last road game of the regular season Saturday at Stetson at 2.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations