In the wake of Tuesday night’s 74-69 loss to Evansville at Allen Arena the Lady Bisons will balance final exams with practice sessions. Final exams begin Friday.
“We are taking Friday and Sunday off because those are times they will be heaviest with exams,” said Lady Bisons coach Frank Bennett. “We will work with weights Monday followed by a short practice Tuesday and a longer practice Wednesday. We will have full-scale practices Thursday and Friday.
“We will take Saturday off and come back Sunday and Monday for hard practices. We will let them go home for Christmas after that. They will be back on campus Dec. 26.”
The Lady Bisons have had their share of misfortune and bad luck this season, but Bennett doesn’t think his team will dwell on the early season setbacks during the time off.
“They are very resilient,” said Bennett. “We have had very few bad practice days.
“It will be hard Wednesday, but I think they will bounce back. As a student finals always are fatiguing.”
Despite the loss, Bennett saw several areas to be positive about.
“I think without a doubt it was probably our best overall game,” said Bennett.
The Lady Bisons outrebounded the Aces 42-36 with four Lady Bisons tying for the team lead with six – freshman wing Hannah Phillips, sophomore wing Leah McAlister, sophomore center Brittany Duerk and junior wing Valerie Bronson.
“We don’t have one dominant rebounder,” said Bennett. “We are going to have to rebound by committee. We did a good job of getting the long rebounds and blocking out.”
The Lady Bisons watched a 40-32 halftime advantage disappear. Evansville scored 17 points in the first seven minutes of the first half to take a 51-48 lead.
A layup by sophomore wing Chelsea Burroughs put the Lady Bisons back in the lead at 53-51 with 9:02 left in the game.
Evansville’s Jordan Lewis scored on a layup with 8:24 on the clock to give the Aces a 55-54 lead. The Lady Bisons would tie the game two more times after that with the last at 63-63on a 3-pointer by Bronson with 4:47 on the clock. But they would never regain the lead.
The biggest lead by Evansville in the final four minutes was eight points, 73-65 with 16 seconds remaining.
Junior guard Jenna Bartsokas scored a season-high 20 points for the Lady Bisons with 10 in each half. She also led all scorers in the loss.
Also in double figures for the Lady Bisons was Burroughs with a season-high 18 points. Phillips chipped in with 10.
“Chelsea made a lot of things happen,” said Bennett. “She played really hard. She gave a lot of help and got some steals.”
Defensively, the Lady Bisons were concerned about Evansville post players Samantha Heck, Eva Benson and Chelsea Falkenstein. Heck had eight points, Benson scored seven and Falkenstein chipped in with six.
Guards Amy Gallagher (13 points) and Stephanie Bamberger (10) led the Aces in scoring. Heck was the game-leader in rebounds with eight.
“They had to go to their secondary and third options,” said Bennett. Clair Waggener and Duerk did a good job defensively in the post. But, overall, our defensive intensity was not where it should be. Evansville was scoring pretty regularly.”
One of the biggest concerns for Bennett was the Lady Bisons 3-point shooting. They hit only five-of-27 attempts for an 18.5 percent success rate.
“Shooting 18 percent in both halves on 3-pointers was a problem,” said Bennett. “In the second half over half of our shots were threes, and usually when that happens that means we are not playing well.”
The Lady Bisons are 2-9. Evansville is 2-6 with wins in the last two games.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations