But Wednesday night at Austin Peay they won 63-58 at the Dunn Center in Clarksville. The win ended a 22-game road losing streak for the Lady Bisons.
It was the first win for the Lady Bisons on the road since beating Belmont 76-66 at the Curb Center Jan. 12, 2009. They won a neutral site game Nov. 22, 2009 when they beat Presbyterian at Morehead State’s tournament.
“Austin Peay is traditionally a hard place to play for anybody,” Lady Bisons coach Frank Bennett said. “I think this is a new team and a new season.
“We are playing with a lot more determination. People are commenting on how much harder and how much together we are playing. I think we can play even better than we played against Austin Peay.”
The Lady Bisons have won their last two games. They are 2-2 this season against Ohio Valley Conference teams.
Both teams struggled offensively in the first half with the Lady Bisons leading 24-21 at intermission.
“I’m sure Austin Peay was surprised that we came out and played almost all zone and forced the game,” Bennett said. “We really were getting some great stops, but we weren’t able to convert very regularly.”
Lady Bisons guards Jenna Bartsokas and Anna Bowers combined for only three points in the first half.
Leah McAlister set the tone for the Lady Bisons scoring the first eight points for the team, including a pair of 3-pointers. She finished with 13 points to lead the team. She was a perfect three-of-three from 3-point range. Her 3-pointer with 4:12 left to play helped stop Austin Peay’s surge late in the second half.
“Leah has had some pretty consistent games,” Bennett said. “Austin Peay was taking away our post game and our driving game early. Leah was able to pop out on the 3-point line and make some baskets.”
In the second half the Lady Bisons used three consecutive 3-point shots by Valerie Bronson, Anna Bowers and Miaca Bowman to break open the game from 14:04 to 13:09.
“We made 10 3-pointers and they made five,” Bennett said. “On the road I can’t remember a streak like that where we broke the game apart so quickly.”
But it was not an easy second half for the Lady Bisons.
“Austin Peay scored a couple of baskets and got off to a quick start in the second half,” Bennett said. “It looked like we were losing a little momentum.
“But we came right back and really pushed the ball and got some good looks for 3-pointers. Everything was clicking really well.”
The Lady Bisons twice led by 18 points in the second half, the last time at 8:47.
“We got some cheap fouls, things like hand checks, that put Austin Peay on the line for four straight free throws that gave them some confidence they were lacking,” Bennett said.
One important thing for the Lady Bisons was that they never lost their confidence.
“We missed a few free throws down the stretch,” Bennett said. “But we didn’t panic. Somebody would make a play for us when we needed it. We found a way to win it.”
Bowers scored 12 points, her seventh double figures game of the season. All of her points were scored in the second half. She also added six rebounds.
Bronson chipped in with 11.
“We got great scoring from Leah and Val who both play the No.4 position,” Bennett said. “Valerie is a good driver. When she plays within herself and doesn’t force the issue she can play really well and be really effective.”
Brittany Duerk led the Lady Bisons in rebounds with seven.
Austin Peay’s Whitney Hanley led all scorers with 18. Jasmine Rayner was the top rebounder with 10. She also had a double-double with 10 points. Meghan Bussabarger added 15 points for Austin Peay.
The Lady Bisons are 4-4 for the season. Austin Peay slipped to 2-8.
The Lady Bisons will be off the next several days for final exams. They return to the court at Lipscomb’s Allen Arena Dec. 18 against Kennesaw State.
“We will be on an every other day schedule which will give our players more time to study for finals,” Bennett said. “I’ve always liked the idea with intense practices during this time with breaks in between.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.