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Stetson (16-5, 8-1 A-Sun)
Lipscomb (3-17, 0-9 A-Sun)
2/1/2014 | Nashville, Tenn. (Allen Arena) | Attendance: 304
Saturday, February 01, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A slow start put the Lipscomb women’s basketball team behind the eight ball right from the tip against a long and athletic Stetson team that has dominated opponents all season.
The Hatters stretched an 11-point halftime lead to as many as 40 before cruising to an 82-47 victory over Lipscomb at Allen Arena on Saturday afternoon.
“We knew they were going to make a run,” Lipscomb coach Greg Brown said. “We talked about it at halftime that we were going to have to respond and match that run. That is where their depth and athleticism put us in a bind and we did not respond well.”
With the win, Stetson improved to 16-5 overall and an impressive 8-1 in league play. The Lady Bisons fall to 3-17, 0-9 in the A-Sun.
The Hatters quickly jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first 2:22. The Purple and Gold called a timeout, a break that seemed to settle the Lady Bisons.
Ashley Southern began to go to work early and often.
Brown wanted to run the ball through her in the post and she was able to have some success. Southern scored nine points in the opening half along with 11 boards.
“We did a good job of getting the ball to Ashley tonight,” Brown said. “But we still have to do a better job of getting it in there early and she has to work on getting some angles. I thought she was a little timid at times.
“She has such a great nose for the ball when it comes to rebounding though. And she does such a good job rebounding that we tend to sit there and watch her sometimes.”
The Lady Bisons fought back and cut it as close as two points on a Danay Fothergill free throw at the 6:30 mark of the first half to make it 20-18.
Southern then hit a jumper at the 5:19 mark to make it 24-20 Stetson. It went downhill in a hurry from there.
Stetson closed the half on a 9-1 run to give the Hatters a 35-24 lead at the break.
The Hatters extended the halftime lead to 57-27 after scoring the first 11 points of the half for a 22-1 run.
Kelli Smith’s 3-pointer at 16:02 was the Lady Bisons first field goal since the 5:19 mark of the first half, a drought of 9:17.
“We rushed a little bit and took some shots a little quicker than we needed to,” Brown said. “We were trying to hit that dagger. But that is why it always needs to start with a stop on the defensive end, which put us where we were in the first half.”
Bench production proved to be big for Stetson, getting 34 points from its reserves. The Lady Bisons had only three.
“They outscored us 31 off the bench and that is almost exactly the difference in the score,” Brown said. “That is where a veteran team versus a young team like ours can hurt you.”
After struggling for much of the first half, Stetson caught fire and hit 53.1 percent of its shots in the second (17-of-32). It did not help that Lipscomb had its second-worst shooting effort of the year, making only 15-of-66 shot attempts for 22.7 percent. The Lady Bisons shot 22.4 at Tennessee.
For the contest, the Lady Bisons hit only six 3-pointers after attempting a season-high 33 for 18.2 percent. They were 11-of-16 from the foul line (68.8 percent). The Hatters hit 31-of-68 shots from the field (45.6 percent), 5-of-20 from 3-point range (25 percent) and 15-of-22 from the charity stripe (68.2 percent).
Stetson held a big advantage in rebounding, 53-40.
“Our struggles in rebounding today came from poor shot opportunities,” Brown said. “Offensive rebounding I think, was about even, but second chance points hurt. Only eight points off of 14 offensive boards is not good, you have to be over one point a possession with that.”
The Lady Bisons had eight assists and 15 turnovers, while the Hatters had 17 assists and 10 turnovers.
Southern collected her seventh straight and 16th double-double of the season with 14 points and 16 boards, both team-highs.
Most of the Lady Bisons struggled shooting the ball against the long Hatters squad. Fothergill tied her career-low with 10 points after making just one of her 13 field goal attempts. She was perfect from the line, nailing all eight attempts.
Chandler Cooper had a season-low five points. Smith knocked down three long balls to give her nine.
Stetson’s freshman phenom Amber Porter led her squad with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Sasha Sims, the A-Sun’s leading scorer, came off the bench to drop 14. C.J. Coddington and Brianti Saunders added 10 each.
Lipscomb has now finished the first half of the conference slate. During that stretch, multiple injuries helped lead the Lady Bisons to several close losses. Now with a healthy squad, Brown believes his team has shown progress in the last few games and is primed to grab some wins on the back end of the schedule.
The Lady Bisons hit the road once again for a two-game swing at Kennesaw State and Mercer next weekend. KSU is up next with a 6 p.m. tip on Feb. 6.
“A good thing is the last couple of weeks, we have grown,” Brown said. “The last two games we finally had our rotation that we will have moving forward, so I think we are doing a lot of things a lot better. We will see when we start going back through these teams again. We played a lot of teams close and I think we can beat a few of those teams this second time around.”