For University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball players Faith Dupree and Kylie Lambert, the timing of the Lady Mocs' week-long break between games couldn't have been much better. For very different reasons, however.
Dupree, a 6-foot-3 junior center, returned from a knee injury at Davidson on Jan. 18, scoring 11 points in 14 minutes of action -- her first in two months since going down against East Tennessee State on Nov. 17.
She needed less than two minutes to score eight points, and for a short while it looked like she'd just right back in the groove. In UTC's next three games, Dupree was a combined 4-of-10 from the field for 10 points, in 33 minutes.
"I knew the adrenaline would help me out in the first game and after that I definitely felt out of shape and a little rusty," she said following Tuesday's practice. "It's frustrating right now, but I've just got to try to work though it."
The Lady Mocs and Davidson are tied for first place in the Southern Conference at the halfway point. UTC (16-3, 9-1) won at Davidson (12-8, 9-1), 60-56, with the help of a 12-point, five-rebound game from Lambert.
Because of painful shin splints, which can lead to stress fractures, the senior wing played has played limited minutes in two of the past three games and sat out against Samford.
She is taking it easy this week and not practicing so that she, coach Wes Moore hopes, will be ready for UTC's game at Furman on Saturday.
"Rest is pretty much the only thing you can do," said Lambert, who had a streak of 79 consecutive starts end at Samford. "This week does come at a good time for me because it's the first chance I've had to rest."
UTC played nine games, six on the road, between Jan. 2 and last Saturday's win against Appalachian State. For Lambert, that meant little time for her legs to get better. For Dupree, it meant little practice time in the gym working on her game.
"[This week] is giving me extra reps and extra practice time, which I need," said Dupree, who has played in seven games. "I shot by myself when I was out, but nothing really simulates the game. I've got to get back in the groove of looking for my teammates and knowing when to pass it and when to shoot it."
The Lady Mocs' game Saturday at Furman will be televised on CSS at noon Sunday.