MEMPHIS, Tenn. --- Despite leading the majority of the game, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team fell 60-59 to Memphis in the first round of the WNIT at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse Thursday night.
After scoring the first two points of the game, Memphis trailed for most of the game before tying it up at 55-55 with 3:48 to play on a layup from Danay Collier. Jasmine Lee connected on the back end of a pair of free throws to give the Tigers the lead.
The Lady Mocs retook the lead on a jumper from sophomore Taylor Hall (New Tazewell, Tenn.) but give it right back up on a layup from Lee with 1:10 to play. Senior Whitney Hood (Meridian, Miss.) grabbed her own rebound on the other end and a had a put back to give UTC the lead with 40 seconds to play.
On the Tiger end of the court, Hall committed a foul to put Nicole Dickson at the line. She missed the front end of a one-and-one and in the ensuing scramble for the ball, the officials would call it out on Chattanooga, giving Memphis the ball back with 16 seconds to play. Dickson's jumper missed and Lee charged in grabbing the board over the top of Chattanooga's rebounders and her put back would be the difference of the game.
Chattanooga had the ball in the final 6.2 seconds, but the Lady Mocs were unable to get the ball through the press.
After Memphis scored the first points of the game, the Lady Mocs claimed the next six before the Tigers would find the basket again. Memphis got as close as one point, 8-7, before the Lady Mocs went on a 15-0 run and led 25-9 with 10:01 to play in the first. However, the Tigers outscored UTC 18-4 over the next 6:34 to cut Chattanooga's lead to 29-27 with 1:45 to play in the first.
The Lady Mocs outscored Memphis 8-2 and carried a 37-29 lead into intermission. The Tigers started the second half with a 10-2 run to knot the game at 39-39, the second tie of the game. The Lady Mocs got out front by five twice more down the stretch and led 53-48 on a 3-pointer from junior Kayla Christopher (Oliver Springs, Tenn.) with 7:47 to play.
Memphis scored eight of the next 10 points and grabbed the lead for the first time since the 19:22 point of the first half at 56-55 on a free throw from Lee. Both teams traded buckets to close out the game and the Tigers grabbed the win.
Hood led the Lady Mocs with 13 points and 10 rebounds for her third double-double of the year. Chattanooga's bench, led by sophomore Faith Dupree's (Knoxville, Tenn.) 10 points and two blocked shots, outscored Memphis 24-2. Hall and Christopher dropped in seven points each and combined for seven rebounds. Junior Kylie Lambert (Etowah, Tenn.) had five points and six rebounds while senior Tenisha Townsend (Antioch, Tenn.) had four rebounds and four assists on the night.
The Lady Mocs closed out the season with a 22-10 mark. Memphis moves to 25-7 overall and will take on Missouri State Saturday in Springfield.