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Saturday, February 15, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In a close game that saw multiple lead changes throughout, the Lipscomb women’s basketball came out on top Saturday afternoon against Atlantic Sun Conference foe North Florida 84-76 in Allen Arena. The victory gave Lipscomb their first back-to-back victories since wins over North Florida and Jacksonville in the 2011-12 season.
The Lady Bisons (5-19, 2-11 A-Sun), who saw four out of five starters reach double digits in scoring, were led by Ashley Southern’s career high 29 points off of 12-of-17 shooting from the field. Southern also notched 12 rebounds and four assists in a prolific game for the sophomore.
The Ospreys (5-17, 1-11 A-Sun) came out strong, starting off the game on a 14-3 run. Junior Destinee Smith, the Ospreys’ leading scorer, scored 11 points in the first five minutes of the game. North Florida held the lead for most of the first half, with the Lady Bisons pulling ahead for the first time with less than two minutes to go until halftime. After trading baskets for the final minutes of the first half, North Florida went into the locker room with a 43-42 lead.
“Smith came out ready to go, and then we started doing what we were supposed to do in the first place,” said Lipscomb head coach Greg Brown, “We made a couple of adjustments, just making sure we were there with her coming off the screens. We were a little quicker getting to her. And then law of averages sometimes kicks in. They came out hitting everything, but we were able to slow them down.”
Southern scored the first bucket of the second half, which put Lipscomb up 44-43. From that moment forward, both teams exchanged blows for the duration of the second half.
A deep 3-pointer from Kelli Smith with 2:34 left to go in the game gave the Lady Bisons a 77-70 lead, putting the contest out of reach for North Florida.
“They certainly controlled those first four minutes,” said Brown, “I thought we did a good job remaining poised. They made their run and we answered it. The same thing happened in the second half. Just like Thursday night, it was 62-62, and then we made a strong run at the end. I’m proud of them for having resilience and sticking with it.”
Lipscomb shot well from behind the arc, finishing 10-of-23 from long range for the contest, with all 10 3-pointers coming from the starters.
Danay Fothergill was the Bisons second leading scorer, with 16 points on the night.
Smith and Sara Bliss notched 12 points each in the game for the Lady Bisons. Both scored clutch baskets down the stretch to help Lipscomb hang on to the lead. Chandler Cooper also added nine points.
Bliss, Cooper, Fothergill, Smith and Southern, the starters for the game, scored 78 of the team’s 84 points.
Junior Brittney Wright was the leading scorer for North Florida in the game with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Smith added 18 points of her own while going 7-for-15 from the field.
Senior Chandler Merkerson, with 11 points, was the only other Osprey in double figures.
The Lady Bisons continue home A-Sun action next Saturday hosting Northern Kentucky at 4 p.m. at Allen Arena.