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11/12/2013 | Birmingham, Ala. | Attendance: 256
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A Southern breeze is heating up the court for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons.
Ashley Southern, a 6-foot-1 redshirt sophomore, has quickly established herself as one of the top scorers and rebounders for the Lady Bisons basketball team.
After posting double-doubles in two exhibition games Southern scored a team-high 25 points and a game-high 18 rebounds in Sundayafternoon’s 82-77 overtime loss to Morehead State to open the regular season.
Her performance was strong enough to earn the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Player of the Week for the state and the Atlantic Sun Conference Newcomer of the Week Award.
Tuesday night Southern and the rest of the Lady Bisons will be tested at UAB. The Blazers, under new head coach Randy Norton, are 0-2 to start the season. The Blazers have lost to Fairfield and Western Illinois.
Lipscomb coach Greg Brown predicts that double-doubles will be a habit for Southern this season as she continues to refine her overall approach to the game.
“She hasn’t peaked,” Brown said. “There is a lot of room for improvement. She has missed some shots that come from not using the glass or maybe hurrying a little bit.
“When she starts hitting the automatics plus the tough baskets that she hits she is going to be even more effective. She is hitting a higher percentage of the tough ones than the ones she is wide open on. Sometimes she is too unselfish. She passes up some shots at times.”
Southern, who exhibits a calm demeanor on the court, is a multiple threat.
“She can float around and that is probably what she does best,” Brown said. “She moves, floats and looks for areas to catch the ball. She can put the ball on the floor a little bit. That is why she fits well into our system and the system fits her well.
“She plays with poise. She has a quick trigger. She can pursue and rebound the same way. She has a quick explosiveness to her that makes it look like it is easy for her.”
Brown wanted Southern to use the year off after transferring from Tennessee-Chattanooga as a time for taking chances on the court and learning from those mistakes.
“We told her to take it as a year to get better with no consequences,” Brown said. “She could make a mistake in practice and nobody really cared.
“We want to translate that into this year. We want her to play with that same carefree approach and understand what is going on."
Brown was familiar with Southern as a high school player. He knew about her skills. Brown credits Southern's personality and approach to the game for making the redshirt year a profitable one for her.
“She did a good job of working on putting the ball on the floor," Brown said. "She wasn’t afraid to take the three. She understood the lane line drives and spacing. I thought she took the year and used it to her advantage very well.”
Southern is not the only player on the team capable of scoring in double figures. Forward Alex Banks, point guard Maya Dillard and guard Sara Bliss all have the shooting skills to put multiple points on the board. In December, when final exams are complete for the fall semester, guard Danay Fothergill will be another weapon in the arsenal.
“The best shot is getting fouled,” Brown said. “The next best shot is in the paint. The next best is an open three. Fortunately, Ashley fits all three of those.
“The ball has to go through those types of players be it Ashley, Maya driving it or Banks on the drive. What we are trying to get them to understand is the big picture of our offense. Ashley is part of the big picture because she can hit those three spots.”
Brown realizes the talent that Southern brings to the court. Now he wants her to fully realize it as well.
“With her skill set Ashley can do some things that matchup wise puts her in a good position against other team’s big players,” Brown said. “We just have to get her to understand that and trust herself a little bit more.
“That is the same with the whole team. They trust the staff. They trust each other. They have to work to trust themselves.”
The Blazer file
Brown is familiar with UAB from his days as an assistant coach at UCF. Karisma Chapman and Ashley Grimes were second team All-Conference USA last season.
“They are very athletic and long,” Brown said. “They have a new coaching situation so we don’t know very much about them.
“Chapman is a match-up problem for everybody. She is a post player who can put the ball on the floor. “
This is only the second time the two teams have met in women’s basketball. On Nov. 24, 2007 the Lady Bisons fell 67-51 to UAB. Game time at Bartow Arena is 7 p.m.
“I like the short turnaround in the fact that it helps our guys to refocus real quick,” Brown said. “It is more about us.
“This is UAB’s first home game. They will be ready to play.”