CHATTANOOGA (UTC/WRCB) -- It wasn't exactly the debut the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team expected for the Jim Foster era, but it was a win.
Trailing by seven points with less than six minutes to play, the Lady Mocs dug in and outscored Lee University 11-2 down the stretch to pull out a 46-44 exhibition win against Monday night at the McKenzie Arena.
Lee's Hollie German missed a 3-point attempt in the final seconds, but the Lady Flames managed to grab the rebound. However, they never got another shot off with Meghan Downes' steal sealing the win.
"I guess you could say we kind of survived this one," said Taylor Hall, who was the only UTC player in double figures with 12 points. "We are really disappointed in the way that we performed. We didn't perform how we have been performing in practice.
"We survived it, but we have a lot to work on."
The Lady Mocs forced 20 turnovers and recorded 13 steals, but lost the rebounding battle and struggled to make shots, especially at the free throw line.
UTC shot just 35.3-percent from the floor and hit just 7-of-20 shots at the charity stripe.
"We picked it up near the end and just did what was necessary to win," Foster said. "I thought we played smart defensively but I don't think we played hard enough. We didn't get up and get after them.
"Faith Dupree has probably practiced three days, Alex Black has been out for nearly four weeks and she just practiced for the first time the other day, and Ashlen has been sitting. She just started practicing fully about a week ago, so our timing and continuity will take some time as a result."
Hall added seven rebounds, four assists and three steals. The senior was 4-of-12 from the field while sinking all four of her free throw attempts.
Dupree chipped in seven points and had a team-high nine rebounds while Downes had nine points, seven in the final five minutes, and a pair of steals. Towns was 3-of-6 from the field for eight points in 20 minutes and added two steals.
Lee's Jenna Adams dropped in a pair of free throws to give her team its largest lead of the game, 42-35, with 5:47 to play. Senior Meghan Downes (Newnan, Ga.) making just her third start for UTC, drained a 3-pointer. A steal by junior Ka'Vonne Townes (Lilburn, Ga.) put the ball back in the Downes' hands for a layup that pulled Chattanooga to within two points, 42-40, with 5:10 on the clock.
After a missed jumper by Adams, senior Faith Dupree (Knoxville, Tenn.) grabbed the rebound and Towns knotted up the contest with a layup. Lee pulled back ahead on a jumper by Hollie German in the paint, but a pair of made free throws and another jumper from Downes put UTC up by the final margin.
"Our intensity stepped up a little bit," Downes said of the closing spurt. "We started getting stops and steals on defense. We were able to execute on those moments.
"But it's not what we were expecting ourselves to look like for this game. That kind of made us a little upset there at the end. We definitely see where we need to get better at."
Chattanooga opens the 2013-14 season Friday night against Alabama in the second game of a double-header with the men's team. The men will tip off against Covenant College at 5:30 p.m. with the women's game to follow 30 minutes after the conclusion.
Information provided by UTC Sports Media Relations and GoMocs.com.
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