MEMPHIS - Jasmine Lee grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on a putback with 6.2 seconds left Thursday night to lift Memphis to a 60-59 win over the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in the first round of the Women's NIT.
Lee, a Georgia transfer and the Conference USA player of the year, was more than the Lady Mocs could handle. She registered her 16th double-double of the season, finishing with 20 points and 16 rebounds in a hard-fought game at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.
UTC coach Wes Moore said the game "was kind of a microcosm" of the season.
"We were close but just couldn't finish it off," he said.
UTC (22-10) got off to a fast start and led by 16 in the first half. The lead was 37-29 at halftime, but Memphis (25-7) quickly drew even in the second. A Lee layup made it 39-33 with 18:19 remaining, and that was followed by two UTC misses and a turnover and three Memphis layups. That spurt tied the game at 39 with 16:15 to play, and it was tight the rest of the way.
The game was tied at 55 when Lee was fouled with 3:48 remaining. She hit one of two free throws to give the Tigers their first lead, 56-55, since a 2-0 advantage in the first minute.
Taylor Hall hit a jumper to put UTC back in front, but a Lee layup but the Tigers up 58-57 with 1:10 to play. Whitney Hood, who had 13 points and 10 rebounds in her final appearance in a UTC jersey, put the Lady Mocs up one more time, 59-58, with 40 seconds left.
Hall fouled Nicole Dickson with 18 seconds left and Dickson missed the front end of the 1-and-1. The loose ball went out of bounds and was ruled to have gone off a Lady Moc, which gave the Tigers another chance at the win.
Dickson missed a jumper and Lee, who finished with 11 offensive rebounds, scored on the putback for the win.
"All we had to do was box her out a time or two," Moore said, "and it's probably a different story."