The Lady Bisons opened the first round of the ASUN conference tournament with a dominant 42-point win over the No. 5 seed USC Upstate.

Lipscomb cruised against USC Upstate in a 95-53 victory to reach the tournament semifinals for the first time since 2008. The win margin set a record for the largest victory in an ASUN conference tournament game.

Lipscomb fell to USC Upstate earlier in the regular season 80-64.

“With a sense of finality for these seniors, they played with greater aggressiveness and awareness during the game,” coach Greg Brown said.

Both teams came out hot from behind the arc. Emily Kmec nailed a three-pointer from deep, and it was answered by three from Anda Kuzmina. The three-point shooting was followed by droughts for both teams.

Solid defense from the Bisons’ 2-3 set forced seven turnovers in the first quarter and a dry spell that lasted 4:11. Poor shooting and turnovers held Lipscomb back on the offensive end. They finished the low scoring quarter with a lead of 15-10 behind some handiwork in the paint from Taylor Clark.

Kmec started the second quarter off right with another three, followed by another two possessions later. She finished the night with 18 points, hitting six of nine from three. Kmec also grabbed four boards.

Midway through the second quarter Loren Cagle displayed her skills in a dazzling play in which she dribbled through the defense and then back out to nail a three-pointer. This was followed by a three on the next possession from Kennedy Potts assisted by Cagle, who was named ASUN player of the year earlier in the weeek.

Cagle executed a double-double with 20 points and 10 assists in her last game in Allen Arena.

Lipscomb was consistent on both ends of the floor in the first half. The defense forced USC Upstate to shoot 28 percent from the field and turn the ball over 17 times. On the offensive end, Lipscomb shot 48 percent from the field and 53 percent behind the arc.

Clark extended Lipscomb’s lead on a second-chance shot to beat the buzzer ending the half. It was 42-20 at the end of 20 minutes.

Clark had a well-rounded first half with eight points, four rebounds, one block, and five steals.

USC Upstate still couldn’t shift the momentum in its favor in the second half. The turnover troubles continued, totaling 27 in all. Tamera Thorpe lead the team on offense with 14 points.

Lipscomb continued to rain in threes in the second half, giving no room for Upstate to mount a comeback effort. The Bisons shot 50 percent from three. This led the team to gain their largest lead of 46 points during the fourth quarter.

“Sustain is the keyword,” Brown said. “We need to sustain the pressure that we’re able to put out here.”

The Lady Bisons will take on the No. 1 seeded Florida Gulf Coast in the conference tournament semifinals in Fort Meyers, Florida, on Wednesday.

Photo courtesy of Lipscomb Athletics

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