Lady Flames Fall To Westmont, 71-65, In National Title Game

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


FRANKFORT, Ky. – The one-two combination of Westmont College’s Tugce Canitez and Kelsie Sampson was simply too much for the battling Lee basketball team in the championship final of the 2013 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship.

Canitez was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after collecting 25 points and pulling down 20 rebounds.

Sampson earned a spot on the all-tournament team and led the Warriors’ surge in the second half. She also had 25 points and six rebounds.

It was the first time that either Lee or Westmont had reached the championship game. The 71-65 win by the California club was the institution’s eighth crown, and denied Lee’s basketball squad of a NAIA title as they depart for the Gulf South and NCAA Division II.

“They played really well,” said coach Marty Rowe, who quickly pointed out that he was very proud of everything his team had accomplished this season. “Westmont executed their game plan really well and we couldn’t find answers for their two big girls down low. They were hard to guard and they got position on us most of the night down in the lane.

“We left the NAIA exactly how we wanted to, with the exception of winning this game. We simply got beat by a good basketball team tonight.”

Canitez connected on a runner in the lane to give the Warriors a 71-65 lead with nine seconds left. Lee (34-3) had its last two opportunities blocked as the final seconds ran off the clock.

Hollie German helped get the Lady Flames off to an early start and scored her team’s first nine points, including the first of four 3-pointers to open the game. Lee’s lead grew to eight, 16-8 seven minutes into the final half on another trey by German.

However, in the game of runs, Westmont took its first lead of the night, 17-16, by outscoring the Lady Flames 9-0 as Sampson knocked down a pair of free throws.

The Warriors picked up the defensive intensity as the two talented teams traded runs over the next few minutes. The halftime ended on a bucket by German that cut the Warriors lead to 34-30.

Lee got off to a quick start and was the aggressors to open the second 20 minutes, scoring four points to tie the game at 34 at the 19:31 mark. Coach Rowe’s club would continue to fight back and tie the score two other times during the second period, but on each occasion Westmont scored on its next possession to quickly cool the Lee runs. The Warriors earned their first double-digit lead of the game with 4:42 left on Sampson’s 25th point of the night.

Lee stepped up again and got back-to-back buckets by Jenna Adams and a 3-pointer from German to quickly cut the Westmont advantage back to three points with less than one minute remaining. However, the late surge proved to be too little too late.

The Warriors finished the game shooting over 47 percent from the field and 40 percent from behind the arc. Westmont also dominated the glass, outrebounding Lee 45-27.

The Lady Flames, as coach Rowe explained, never shot the ball well the entire tournament. In the final, they converted 39 percent for the game and struggled again from 3-point range (8-of-25).

“I thought we played hard,” Rowe stressed. “They are the best offensive team we played during the entire tournament."

German, who had an outstanding tournament and was named to the all-tournament first team, was the game’s leading scorer with 27 points. Adams, who was also an all-tournament selection, finished with 19 to go along with seven rebounds. Karley Miller added eight points and five boards.

The well-played game saw the Lady Flames turn the basketball over just five times compared to 10 assists. Brooke Hamby had four assists and German totaled three.

Westmont guard Esther Lee hurt the Lady Flames by knocking down 4-of-5 3-point attempts and finished with 12 points. Celina Gougis also contributed for the champions, scoring 12 points and garnering seven rebounds.

“I’m extremely happy for our seniors (Hamby, Julia Zimmerman, Mary Jackson and four-year player Rachel Lockhart),” praised Rowe. “I think people really appreciate the hard work our team put in over this run. Setting a new school record for number of victories and reaching the NAIA final for the first time is something our team can always be very proud of.

“From where we started at the beginning of the season to this point, I’m pleased with this club and what we accomplished. We are ready for the next step next year.”



30th Anniversary Reception To Be Held For Georgia Northwestern's David Stephenson

A coaching career spanning 30 years will be celebrated on  Feb. 18  in Rossville. Georgia Northwestern’s men’s basketball team will close out the regular season that afternoon with a  3:30 p.m.  game against Warren Wilson (N.C.) College and a reception for head coach David Stephenson will follow immediately after the game. After graduating ... (click for more)

Coach Katie Galloway Burrows to Speak at QB Club

UTC women's assistant basketball coach Katie Galloway Burrows is the featured speaker at today's Chattanooga Quarterback Club at Finley Stadium at noon. Coach Burrows, who played four years for the Mocs,will give an update on the season as the Mocs are 11-8 overall and 5-0 in the Southern Conference. The price of the lunch is $10 or $4 without the meal and the meeting is open ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Police To Add 14 Officers After Violent Weekend; New System To Allow Local Testing Of Shell Casings

In the wake of a weekend in which five people were shot with two dying, the Chattanooga Police Department is adding 14 more officers, Mayor Andy Berke and Chief Fred Fletcher said Monday. The department is also utilizing a new system that will allow local testing of shell casings and avoid a long wait time after sending them off to Nashville. Chief Fletcher also said there ... (click for more)

Cleveland Mother And Father Indicted After 2-Month Old Tests Positive For Meth; Has Multiple Injuries

The father and mother of a two-month-old in Cleveland have been indicted for child abuse after the baby tested positive for meth and had multiple injuries. Cleveland Police said on Jan. 4 the Department of Children Services and the Cleveland Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit began a joint investigation on an aggravated child neglect/abuse case.  DCS and ... (click for more)

Proud Of Chattanooga And The Women's March - And Response (2)

I was very happy to participate in the Women’s March on Chattanooga yesterday afternoon. The diversity and the sheer numbers of women, men and children were incredible. One estimate was at least 3,000. Standing together with all of these like-minded souls was overwhelming and humbling.  I have rarely been so happy and so proud of my town.  One question is, why is ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Washington’s Favorite

By the time darkness fell over Washington, D.C., on Sunday, it had clearly been a monumental weekend. On Friday Donald Trump had ben inaugurated as the 45 th President of the United States. On Saturday a fierce crowd of a half-million women who each are entitled to have the identical rights as men in the same United States, marched on The Mall. And then, the Washington Post printed ... (click for more)