The Lipscomb Lady Bisons continue to show improvement on the basketball court, but their efforts are not producing wins.
Monday night they lost 81-76 to USC Upstate in the final home game of the season at Allen Arena. Guard Jenna Bartsokas, forward Valerie Bronson and guard Miaca Bowman were honored before the start of the game in “Senior Night” ceremonies. It was also “Think Pink”/”Pack the House” night with approximately 1,200 fans in attendance.
After allowing Upstate to start quickly the Lady Bisons controlled the game for most of the first half and held a 33-28 advantage at intermission.
In the second half the Lady Bisons twice led by as many as 11 points, the last time at 12:03 as center Jess Reece sank a pair of free throws for a 56-45 advantage.
With 11:47 remaining in the game the Lady Bisons held a 10-point edge, 56-46.
Upstate then went on a 17-2 run to take over the game at 63-58 with 7:10 left to play.
“We’ve got to meet those runs,” Lady Bisons coach Frank Bennett said. “We’ve got to pull together when adversity is happening.
“It also happened in the ETSU game. The other team is really fired up when it is making those plays. They are playing extra hard.”
To counteract that energy the Lady Bisons have to find ways to get the defensive rebounds and have confidence breaking the press to stop the run.
“We have to raise our level of play,” Bennett said. “That is our next plateau to break over the top.”
The Lady Bisons tied the game at 63-63 on a 3-point shot by Bartsokas with 4:41 left on the clock, but they could not regain the lead down the stretch.
“We did a lot of good things,” Bennett said. “We had five players in double figures which was a very good sign. We just need to be more consistent and develop several legitimate threats.
“After we finally stopped their run we played really well down the stretch. We gave ourselves chances to catch up.”
Forward Hannah Phillips continues to become more of a force on the court late in the season. She scored 15 points, her season high which also tied for her career high. She barely missed a double-double for the second game in a row with nine rebounds. She also tied for the team-high in assists with five and tied for the team lead in steals with four.
It was the fourth time in the last five games that Phillips has scored in double figures. She has hauled down a career high nine rebounds in each of her last two games and is averaging 7.4 rebounds per game in her last five games.
Bronson led the way for the Lady Bisons with 18 points, tying her season high set Feb. 5 at Jacksonville. Bartsokas finished with 17. Both Bronson and Bartsokas hit three-of-eight attempts from beyond the 3-point arc.
Center Brittany Duerk and guard Anna Bowers each chipped in with 10 points.
Upstate guard Tee’Ara Copney scored a game-high 28 points. Forward Chelsea McMillan finished with 18 points. Forward Lauren McRoberts just missed a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds, tying Phillips for the game-high on the boards.
Thursday night the Lady Bisons will play at Kennesaw State in a game that could be important in determining the final Atlantic Sun Tournament seedings. They close out the season at Mercer, the only team that did not qualify for the tournament.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.