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Monday, April 13, 2009The Lady Bisons and Bisons celebrated the 2008-2009 basketball season with the annual banquet Monday night at Allen Arena.
Guests dined on a barbecue buffet supplied by Jim and Nick’s.
The Lady Bisons made a number of special awards. Senior forward Miriam McAlister and sophomore guard Jenna Bartsokas both were presented academic awards for their 4.0 grade point averages during the fall semester.
The players voted on two awards. Miriam McAlister was honored with the “Best Teammate” Award. Senior forward Jilian Partin was presented the “Tough as Nails” Award in recognition of both her physical and mental toughness.
The Lady Bisons won only six games this season, one of the toughest seasons they have endured in the history of the program in terms of wins and losses.
One of the most frustrating aspects of the season for the Lady Bisons was the number of games they lost in last second of a game.
“We lost more buzzer beaters this year than I had in my whole career combined,” said Bennett. “Our players continued to work hard,” said Bennett. “They really had great chemistry with one another. They really came together in our last eight games and really played some good basketball against teams in the upper echelon of the conference.
“I feel like we have a good nucleus returning. We have a lot of freshmen and sophomores who played a lot during the season.”
The Lady Bisons said a formal farewell to Partin, Miriam McAlister and Katie Rollins.
Partin will graduate in May with a degree in social work. She was second on the team in both points per game and rebounds. In the final eight games of the season she averaged approximately 15 points a game. She finishes her career ranked second in rebounding in the NCAA Division I era and No. 4 in scoring.
“Jilian really had a strong finish to her career,” said Bennett.
Miriam McAlister is graduating with dual majors in Spanish and Psychology. Bennett said that everyone will wonder what could have been in her career since she was hampered the last three seasons with injury issues.
Rollins is graduating with a degree in Bible. She made the transition from starter to reserve during her senior season.
“Katie had a change in roles,” said Bennett. “Going from being a starter to coming off the bench is not an easy adjustment to make. I respect her because she kept a good attitude and worked hard. She really played some good basketball the last half of the season, particularly in the last seven games.”
She is 15th overall in scoring and eighth overall in career rebounding.
Miriam McAlister, Partin and Bartsokas served as captains for the season.
“They are all graduating on time in May,” said Bennett. “Of the 77 players we have had for all four years all 77 have graduated.”