CHATTANOOGA (UTC/WRCB) -- It took a little while, but the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team eventually shook off enough rust to beat visiting Lee University 55-40 in an exhibition game Tuesday night at McKenzie Arena.
Senior Whitney Hood helped UTC overcome a slow start with a 6-for-7 effort from the field in the second half. She led all scorers with 20 points and added a team-high seven rebounds in the win.
Taylor Hall had 10 points and matched Hood's seven boards. Kayla Christopher chipped in 11 points, including three 3-pointers.
"I definitely think we got our feet wet," said Hood. "We've got to get better as a team and better on defense, but we've got until next Friday to work on some things.
"We've got to be ready to play at the start of the game and finish shots. We didn't hit as many shots in the first half and we have to do the little things it takes to win games."
The Lady Mocs went nearly 14 minutes between baskets in the first half while making just one of their first eleven shots from the floor. However, they found solace at the free throw line going 10-for-10 from the charity stripe in that span.
The Lady Flames also struggled early, connecting on just 3-of-27 first-half shots (11.1%) to open the door for a UTC run. Leading 11-10 at the 8:31 mark, Chattanooga closed the first half on a 15-0 run to take a 16-point halftime advantage.
"The first half was pretty ugly. I told (Lee head coach) Marty (Rowe) I think we both set the game back ten or twenty years with that performance," said Lady Mocs' coach Wes Moore. "Maybe we can attribute it to the fact that it was the first time with fans in the seats, and the lights on bright and all of that, but whatever. It was not a pretty game, and we're going to have to clean up a whole lot of things before next Friday night."
Lee slowly clawed back in the second half, pulling to within seven at 43-36 with eight minutes to play, but Chattanooga outscored the Lady Flames 12-4 over the rest of the way.
The Lady Mocs made just 18-of-53 (34 percent) from the floor and was 4-of-18 from the new 3-point line. Chattanooga went 15-of-19 from the charity stripe, making 11-of-12 in the first half. Chattanooga outrebounded Lee 40-32 and forced 17 turnovers.
Lee went 15-of-50 from the field and was 8-of-26 from beyond the arc. German led the Lady Flames with nine points while Eldridge and Lee each chipped in eight points. Jenna Adams had six points and a game-high nine rebounds.
"You could tell we were nervous and had first-game jitters, but I think once we got going, you could tell it just took us a little bit to get warmed up," Hall said. "We eventually started doing things right that we were messing up on originally, but we still have a lot of work to do."
The Lady Mocs open the 2011-12 season Friday, Nov. 11 against UAB at the McKenzie Arena in the preseason WNIT. The winner will face the winner of the Baylor/Howard game played the same night on Sunday, Nov. 13 with the site to be determined. Baylor is ranked first by both the AP Top 25 Poll and the USA Today/ESPN Division I Top 25 Preseason Coaches' Poll.
Information provided by UTC Sports Information and GoMocs.com.