LipscombSports.com
Bartsokas scores 24 in 64-56 win over Kennesaw St.
Brittany Duerk
Brittany Duerk

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sparked by junior guard Jenna Bartsokas and sophomore center Brittany Duerk the Lipscomb Lady Bisons beat Kennesaw State 64-56.

The Lady Bisons are 5-24, 3-16 in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Kennesaw State dropped to 10-18, 7-12. The win ended a 12-game losing streak for the Lady Bisons. It was the longest losing streak in the NCAA era for the Lady Bisons.

“The girls want to show that they are a better team than what their record shows,” Lipscomb coach Frank Bennett said. “We really played a solid game.

“We played good defense on our Florida trip last week and had trouble scoring. This time we put both ends together a little bit better.”

Bartsokas finished with a game-high 24 points. It was her fifth time to score 20 or more points in a game this season and the second time she has scored 20 or more points this season in back-to-back games. She was eight-of-16 from the field and six-of-six from the free throw line.

“She had been in a little slump and now she has had four straight strong offensive games,” Bennett said. “This was one of her best games as far as the percentages she was shooting and making smart shots. In the second half she took care of the ball very well.

“I don’t know if she has the chance to be an all-conference player on a last place team. But she has certainly played at an all-conference level the last few games.”

Duerk scored 12 points, all in the first 20 minutes, but her play early was crucial in the victory. Guard Anna Bowers, who was two-of-four from 3-point range; and forward Valerie Bronson, who was four-of-six from the field, each finished with nine points. Both Bowers and Bronson scored at crucial times in the second half to stop runs by Kennesaw State.

“Brittany was doing a great job of scoring one-on-one,” Bennett said. “There were some scramble situations where people found her loose under the basket. We made some good passes to her.”

The Lady Bisons made 15 turnovers, but also had 15 assists in the game.

“We got 10 points off of turnovers,” Bennett said. “That was a real concern. Offensive rebounds and points off of turnovers are what hurt us at Stetson. Kennesaw State got points off the boards (21), particularly in the first but not many off of turnovers.”

The Lady Bisons led 33-28 at the half. In the second half, sparked by the second 3-pointer of the game by Bartsokas, the Lady Bisons led by eight, 38-30.

Kennesaw State pulled within one with a little over 12 minutes to play. With 11:49 left the Lady Bisons held onto a 41-40 advantage.

A 3-pointer with 10:30 on the clock by guard Ashley Holliday gave Kennesaw State a 43-41 lead, their first of the second half and their first since the 10:28 mark of the first half.

With the game tied at 45-45 the Lady Bisons pulled ahead by three on a shot by Morgan Faulkner with 8:45 left.

Bartsokas went to the line with 8:28 left. She hit both of her free throws for a five-point Lady Bisons lead, 50-45.

Holliday connected on another 3-pointer to cut the lead to 50-48. The Lady Bisons answered with a layup by Bronson for a 52-48 lead.

With a little less than six minutes remaining the Lady Bisons led 52-50. Bartsokas pulled the Lady Bisons ahead 54-50 at 5:51. Kennesaw State again trimmed the lead at two at 54-52 with 5:06 remaining on a layup by Angie Smith.

Bowers dropped in a 3-pointer to give the Lady Bisons a 57-52 advantage with 3:44 left. Bowers then struck again with 2:45 remaining left on a two-point shot for a 59-52 lead.

“Both of those baskets came at a time when we were really having a hard time scoring and Kennesaw State was making a run at us,” Bennett said. “The two baskets together gave us a little breathing room and stopped that run.

“We have been looking for the ability to meet those runs. We were able to cut them short.”

Forward Hannah Phillips hit one of two free throws with 33 seconds left for a 62-56 lead. Bartsokas added two free throws with 18 seconds left to ice the game at 64-56.

Both Duerk and Bartsokas were in double figures in the first half.

Both teams got off to a slow start offensively. Neither team could pull ahead by more than two points until the 8:54 mark when Bowers hit a free throw for a 16-13 Lady Bisons edge.

The Lady Bisons pulled ahead by four, 23-19, when Bartsokas sank her first 3-pointer of the game with 7:05 remaining.

The biggest lead of the first half for the Lady Bisons was eight points, 27-19, on a layup by Duerk with 5:50 on the clock.

Holliday led Kennesaw State with 14 points. Forward Sametria Gideon added 12. Center Montinique Nixon grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.

“We played a lot of our zone defense and really did a good job of covering their shooters,” Bennett said. “Holliday got hot on us in the second half.”

The Lady Bisons close out the regular season Saturday afternoon at 2 at Allen Arena when Mercer visits.

Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations