CANCUN, Mexico (UTC/WRCB) -- A Thanksgiving trip south of the border proved to be anything but a vacation for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team.
The Lady Mocs blew an double-digit first-half lead in a 65-62 to Idaho State on Thursday in the opening game of the 2011 Cancun Challenge at the Moon Palace resort in Cancun, Mexico.
Junior Kayla Christopher lead three Lady Mocs in double figures with 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting with three 3-pointers. Senior Whitney Hood, who found foul trouble early and played just one minute of the first half, scored 11 points in the second half to finish with 13 points. Taylor Hall also added 11 points and a team-high five rebounds.
UTC opened a 26-11 lead with just over six minutes to play in the first half, but couldn't keep up a brisk early pace. The Lady Mocs went cold while Idaho State ripped off a 25-9 across the close of the first half and the first five minutes of the second.
"Whitney is too important a position in our offense to us to be sitting on the bench over there with us," said head coach Wes Moore of Hood's lack of production because of foul trouble.
Chattanooga (2-2) battled back to tie the game at 55 in the closing minutes, but a 6-0 spurt put the Bengals in front for good, and the Lady Mocs couldn't get up the floor to get off a shot in their final possession as the clock expired.
"We stressed in our film and scouting reports how they do a great job of crashing the offensive boards, and we got down to the last six or seven minutes and they got too many chances," Moore said. "They outrebounded us on the offensive boards. They did a very good job of getting extra possessions down the stretch."
Idaho State shot 43.9 percent from the field, compared to UTC's 38-percent, and also out-rebounded the Lady Mocs 40-35. Kaela Oakes and Lindsey Reed led the Bengals with 19 points apiece.
Chattanooga will now face Cincinnati Friday at 5 p.m. in their final matchup of the Cancun Challenge.
Information provided by UTC Sports Information and GoMocs.com.