Kylie Lambert is counting down the days. And smiling as she does it.
There are 125 days, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior wing said before the women's basketball team practiced Sunday, until she graduates at the end of spring semester.
"That will come fast and be here before I know it," said Lambert, who is averaging 6.4 points and 6.4 rebounds a game.
The days will move really fast if UTC can get on a hot streak during the next few weeks. The Lady Mocs (8-2) have 19 games left in the regular season, starting with a visit to UAB (9-3) on Wednesday. UTC is 18-14 all-time against the Blazers, including a 65-59 season-opening win last season at McKenzie Arena.
After facing the Blazers, who beat UNC-Greensboro 80-62 on Sunday, UTC plays 18 consecutive Southern Conference games. The only seniors on the team are Lambert and guard Kayla Christopher, and Lambert said they're determined to help the Lady Mocs get back to winning SoCon championships and returning to the NCAA tournament.
"Me and Kayla, as seniors, we just have to show the team what it's about and get to the NCAAs, like we were our freshman year," said Lambert, a three-year starter.
Christopher, who's second on the team in scoring with 12.7 points per game, said she didn't like going into the team's Christmas break after a 53-40 loss at Auburn. UTC played well defensively, but made just 15 of 55 shots.
"It was kind of frustrating, having to leave that taste in your mouth for the whole Christmas break," the four-year starter said. "We've moved past it, and we have another chance, against UAB, to make another statement before we start conference play."
The trip to UAB is the start "of a new season," Lambert said. The first half had its great moments, like the season-opening win against Tennessee, but also the disappointments of poor performances in the losses to St. Mary's and Auburn.
So what comes next?
"We've just got to push forward through the rest of the season," Lambert said, "and keep winning."
The Lady Mocs resume SoCon play on Jan. 5 with a visit to UNC-Greensboro, followed by a game at Elon on Jan. 7. Their next game at the Roundhouse is Jan. 12, against Georgia Southern.