Monday, January 07, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On an afternoon where the long ball was uncharacteristically not falling, the Lipscomb women’s basketball team hit one at the right moment in a stunning 57-56 Atlantic Sun Conference victory over USC Upstate in Allen Arena.
Freshman Presley Stastny unleashed the 22-foot shot to win the game with four-hundreths of a second remaining, sending the Lady Bisons into a celebration Monday afternoon.
Lipscomb improves to 2-12 overall and earns its first victory in A-Sun play at 1-3. The Spartans fall to 5-9 overall, 1-2 in the loop.
“In the first half we were a little wild with the ball,” Lipscomb head coach Greg Brown said. “We had 14 first half turnovers and we did a nice job of settling down with just three second half turnovers.
“We talked about how everyone who came in, came in and contributed. We ask them to be ready when their number is called.”
No one may have echoed that more than junior Jess Reece who notched a double-double with a career-high 17 rebounds, tied a career-high with 14 points and added six blocks for good measure.
“Jess showed another testament of listening and being patient, while working hard in practice,” Brown said. “That work ethic is carrying over to what she is doing now.”
Reece is averaging 10.3 rebounds and 7.3 points in conference play with 10 blocks.
The two squads passed the lead back and forth over the first 10 minutes until USC Upstate pulled ahead 13-10 with 9:58 remaining on a Lauren McRoberts trey. The Spartans built a nine-point lead of 27-18 with 4:04 on the clock.
The Lady Bisons used a quick turnaround with a Kelli Smith 3-point basket and a pair of shots in the paint from Stastny and Sasha Robinson to pull within two points at 27-25 with 2:04 remaining.
The Spartans entered the half with a 31-27 lead.
USC Upstate played with the lead in the second half until Alex Banks hit a jumper in the paint to give Lipscomb a 38-36 lead with 13:45 remaining.
After Tee’Ara Copney tied the game at 38-38 the Lady Bisons would pull ahead over the next four minutes utilizing free throws. Hannah Phillips sunk three shots from the charity stripe while Mallory Charpentier knocked in two, squeezed around a Copney fast break layup.
McRoberts gave the lead back to the visitors at 44-43 with 8:52 remaining, at the same time the Lady Bisons went cold from the field.
USC Upstate used a 12-2 run over the next 4:47 to build a 52-45 lead with hope fading for the Purple and Gold with 4:30 left in the game.
Down five with 2:42 remaining, Reece took control of the game. Snagging the missed second free throw from a LU teammate, Reece positioned herself for a layup to cut the lead to three.
Picking up another rebound on the defensive, Reece turned that into another easy basket to draw Lipscomb to within one point with 1:04 remaining.
Copney knocked in a jumper for the Spartans to increase the Spartan lead to 55-52 with 34 ticks on the clock.
On the ensuing possession Reece was fouled and knocked in both free throws bringing the score to 55-54 and forcing LU to foul with 26 seconds on the clock.
Sending McRoberts to the charity stripe, she hit 1-of-2 with for the 56-54 Spartan lead, setting up Stastny for the heroics.
“We tried to get an inside touch,” Brown said. “We got it reversed back around and that is the thing about Presley, she is confident.”
Coming from the baseline, Phillips found Stastny beyond the 3-point line. Putting the ball on the ground to elude her defender, Stastny took a dribble and calmly sank the trey with .4 remaining on the clock for the 57-56 victory.
“She relaxed and took the shot and just knocked it down,” Brown said. “To her it was just another shot and that is a great thing for her.”
After the 14 points from Reece, Stastny and Banks each added 10 points for the Lady Bisons.
Copney knocked in a game-high 23 points for the Spartans while Hawkins chipped in 15 points and McRoberts added 10 points.
Lipscomb travels to A-Sun newcomer Northern Kentucky on Saturday for a noon tip.