The final score was 62-51 in favor of Florida Gulf Coast but the game was closer than that final score might suggest.
In the previous meeting between the two teams Florida Gulf Coast prevailed 75-57.
“Gulf Coast has beaten some teams in the league by 40 points,” Lady Bisons coach Frank Bennett said. “We just have to keep on fighting.
“We have to keep gaining confidence and keep getting better.”
The Lady Bisons trailed 12-2 after 3:30 minutes. Florida Gulf Coast led by as many as 13 points in the first half. The Lady Bisons trimmed the lead to 33-24 at intermission.
In the second half with 18:23 on the clock Lipscomb forward Leah McAlister left the game with a leg injury and did not return. She had nine points and six rebounds at the time.
That injury gave the momentum to Florida Gulf Coast which led by 21, 47-26, with 12:26 remaining. That was the biggest lead for Florida Gulf Coast.
The Lady Bisons never gave up chipping away at the lead. They pulled to within nine, 55-46, with 3:58 left on a 3-pointer by guard Miaca Bowman.
Despite the large scoring margins for much of the game the Lady Bisons did not allow Florida Gulf Coast to get a shot off on numerous occasions.
“Our defensive intensity was outstanding,” Bennett said. “In the second half Florida Gulf Coast was on the verge of shot clock violations time after time.
“Our first shot defense was unbelievable against the highest scoring team in the league. We held them 11 points below their average. Hopefully we can carry that over because that kind of intensity level can beat a lot of teams.”
Guard Jenna Bartsokas was the only Lady Bisons player to finish in double figures with 14.
Forward Hannah Phillips tied with McAlister for the team lead in rebounds with six.
Florida Gulf Coast placed three players in double figures _ guard Sarah Hansen with a game-high 17 and a game-high eight rebounds, guard Shannon Murphy with 14 and guard Courtney Chihil with 11.
The Lady Bisons held Florida Gulf Coast to 33.3 percent from the field, 18-of-54. But the Lady Bisons only shot 36.7 percent, hitting 18-of-49 and 15 percent from 3-point range, hitting three-of-20.
“Florida Gulf Coast was switching hard and denying the ball and making it hard for us to move the ball,” Bennett said. “It took us awhile to adjust to that.
“Late in the game we were getting some good things to happen by spreading out their defense more. But it took us awhile to do the things we needed to do to get the ball moving.”
The Lady Bisons are 8-13 overall, 5-7 in the A-Sun. Florida Gulf Coast is 16-1 overall 9-1 in the conference.
Monday at 7 the Lady Bisons are back on the court against Stetson at Allen Arena.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.