The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team finally had its first stumble of the season Saturday with a 70-67 loss to host St. Mary's College in the Thanksgiving Classic in Moraga, Calif.
St. Mary's used a 13-2 run to open a 15-point lead at the start of the second half, but UTC cut the deficit to a single point on Kayla Christopher's seventh 3-pointer of the game with 38 seconds remaining before the Lady Gaels made enough free throws to wrap up the win.
"I'd like to win them all, but I'm proud of our effort today," UTC coach Wes Moore said by phone. "It would have been easy to mail it in, but we fought back and had our chances. I just hope we can learn from it."
The Lady Mocs (4-1) had been on a roll since opening the season by stunning No. 20 Tennessee, but the Lady Gaels held them to just over 35 percent shooting from the field and put them on the line just eight times.
"We need to come out at the start with mentality that we can shut them down and make plays and be the aggressor," Moore said. "We had no free throws in the first half and shot too many 3s."
UTC was led by Christopher's 27 points on 10-of-14 shooting, including 7-of-10 from the 3-point line. Taylor Hall added 12 points for UTC, and Ka'Vonne Towns chipped in 11. St. Mary's was led by Jackie Nared's double-double, 28 points and 12 rebounds.
Moore said he's still trying to make adjustments to his lineup after losing post player Faith Dupree for perhaps three months to a knee injury.
"We're still searching with the loss of Faith," he said. "We had gotten through the preseason and the first few games and starting to establish some roles, but losing Faith has changed all that.
"But we've got a day or two to look at this and then get ready for Wofford."
UTC opens Southern Conference play Thursday at home against the Terriers.