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Lady Bisons valiant comeback not enough against Kennesaw State

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Feb. 18, 2006

Box Score
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The Lipscomb Lady Bisons trip to Florida next week became even more important for their hopes of a berth in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament.

The Lady Bisons were upset 87-79 Saturday afternoon at Allen Arena by conference newcomer Kennesaw State. The loss drops the Lady Bisons to 5-11 in the conference, 6-17 overall.

Not even a stunning 23-3 run down the stretch was enough for the Lady Bisons to get the victory.

The Lady Bisons led 11-9 in the first half with 15:35 left on a 3-pointer by guard Dana Carrigan, but Kennesaw State took control on jumpers by Danielle Bates Shavonder Clarke to take a 15-11 advantage at 14:29. Kennesaw State, hitting 8-of-13 3-point shots in the first half pulled ahead. They led by 17, their biggest margin of the half at 54-37 at halftime.

"We had a fairly good start to the game, but Kennesaw State got some confidence and kept building on that. They shot, by far, the best they have all season. They were really hot with their 3-point shots."

In the second half Kennesaw State didn't take as many 3-point shots, but it didn't slow down their scoring. With 8:25 left in the game they led by 27 points (80-53).

The Lady Bisons refused to let the game end in a rout. The rally began calmly enough with free throws from forward Kaleigh Gossman and center Penny Jones. But several lay-ups by Gossman, Miriam McAlister and Katie Beth Pate also contributed to the run.

With 1:02 left on the clock the Lady Bisons were trailing by seven points (83-76) after two more free throws from Grossman. With 17 seconds left Jilian Partin pulled the Lady Bisons to within six (85-79) on a 3-point shot, but they could not close the deal.

"It was valiant comeback," said Bennett. "We came very close to really making it a close game. But Kennesaw State had too many second shots and second opportunities."

The Lady Bisons held a 44-34 advantage on the boards, but 20 of the Kennesaw State rebounds were on the offensive end.

Gossman scored a season-high 18 points and also grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds, her second double-double of the season. Carrigan scored 17 followed by Pate with 15 and McAlister with 12.

"Gossman had her best game of the season and Pate was more involved offensively than she sometimes is," said Bennett. "Carrigan did a lot of good things."

Bennett also singled out Karli Osborn for her work at the guard spots.

"Karli had a pretty solid game," said Bennett.

Five Kennesaw State players finished in double figures. Jennifer Baker scored a game-high 19 points. Bates chipped in 18. Nikki Gurley came off the bench to score 16. Ashley Johnson dropped in 14. Clarke had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Kennesaw State, making the transition from NCAA Division II, is not eligible for conference tournament play this season. Kennesaw State is last in the conference with a 3-13 record, 4-19 overall.

The Lady Bisons last road trip of the regular season starts Thursday night at Jacksonville and closes out Saturday at North Florida.