The annual exhibition contest was a battle from start to finish for both clubs.
“Our girls came in here thinking they could win and they are disappointed we couldn’t pull it out at the end,” said coach Marty Rowe. “I’m certainly pleased with the effort and the poise we showed the entire game.”
The Lady Flames were up 40-35 before the Lady Mocs picked off a couple of passes and finally regained the 46-44 lead in the final seconds. Coach Rowe called a timeout and set up what he hoped to be the winning play. The ball was placed in the hands of All-American Hollie German with some five seconds remaining and her 3-point attempt just barely missed.
“If you see this situation arise again this season, Hollie is the person we want taking that shot,” pointed out Rowe. “Neither team shot the basketball well tonight, but I thought for the most part we dominated the game.
“We tried some cross-court passes on a couple of occasions when we had the lead, and that really cost us against the quickness and an experienced team like UTC,” added the coach. “We will learn from these mistakes and I think it will help us when we face a lot of stiff competition throughout the season. I probably made a couple of coaching mistakes during one of the stretches, but our entire team battled the entire evening and I’m really proud of the effort.”
The Lady Flames shot only 29 percent for the evening (15-of-53) and made just 7-of-27 3-point attempts (26 percent). They were awarded only four free throws and converted three.
Lee’s determined defense held the Lady Mocs to 33 percent shooting (14-of-43). The host team only made 2-of-11 treys (18 percent). UTC was awarded 16 free throws but could hit only five.
“I was really pleased with our defensive effort against a bigger team,” noted Rowe. “Madison (Lee), Jenna (Adams) and Karley (Miller) outbattled their big girls on the glass and fought for the loose balls.” Adams produced a double-double with 15 points and a game-leading 10 rebounds. Miller had five rebounds, five points and two steals, while Lee also joined Rachel Lockhart with five rebounds. Lee outrebounded the Lady Mocs 39-35.
German, despite an off shooting night, tallied a hard-earned 11 points. She also dished off three assists and grabbed five rebounds. Melanie Barker came off the bench for four rebounds.
The Lady Mocs were paced by Taylor Hall who had 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists. UTC’s post player Faith Dupree tallied seven points and nine rebounds, while Meghan Downes (9 points) and KaVonne Townes (8 points) came on strong late in the game.
The Lady Flames will play one more exhibition game before opening the regular season against Tennessee Wesleyan on Nov. 16. Maryville College visits on Saturday evening for a 6:30 exhibition in Walker Arena.