Visiting Delta State (Cleveland, Miss.) kept its Gulf South slate (6-0) clean on Thursday evening and at the same time ended Lee's 43 game home-court winning streak.
The Lady Statesmen, ranked ninth in the latest NCAA Division II poll, overpowered the Lady Flames (7-4, 3-2) early in the contest and again in the final five minutes in claiming the hard-fought 71-64 victory.
Lee had rallied back and cut Delta State's 33-21 half-time lead down to 55-51 with less than seven minutes remaining. However, the Mississippi club went inside to Seneca Walton, who tallied 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, to pull out the conference decision.
"They are a very good basketball team, but every team is good in this league," said coach Marty Rowe after the home winning streak ended. "To beat this type of team, we have to shoot the basketball well and we didn't do that tonight."
The Lady Flames shot 38 percent from the field but made just 4-of-22 3-point tries. "We are a 3-point shooting team and we have to make some of those to open up other scoring opportunities," added Rowe.
Delta State earned the 12-point halftime lead by shooting 47 percent from the field and forcing 12 Lee turnovers. On the other hand, Rowe's club was able to convert just 1-of-10 treys in the first 20 minutes.
"Every game has been a real grind for our team and we can't afford to get behind early like we did tonight," said Rowe. "Our girls got tired at the end and that is to be expected after tough games at North Alabama on Saturday, Union on Mondayand Delta State tonight. Welcome to the Gulf South Conference."
Hollie German heated up late and paced the Lady Flames scoring with 28 points. However, she was dogged the entire night by the physical Delta State defense and was only 8-of-25 from the field and 3-of-10 from behind the arc. She did go to the line and convert 9-of-11 free throws.
Jenna Adams followed with 17 points. She shot the ball well, knocking down 7-of-13 shots and also grabbing nine rebounds as Lee held a 34-33 advantage in that department. Rachel Lockhart fought hard for seven points and five rebounds, while Myriah Iles came off the bench to score six as only six Lady Flames scored in the loss.
While Walton was hitting 10-of-14 of her shots and powering to the bucket late in the game, Chelsey Rhodes added three 3-pointers and finished with 16 points. Shanee Govan and Rhandi Ball pitched in with eight points apiece. Govan also had five assists.
Delta State held an advantage in two key areas. They outscored the Lady Flames 10-0 in fast-break points and 11-6 in points off the bench, two places Lee usually excels.
Christian Brothers will bring another serious challenge into Walker Arena on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Lady Bucs (7-4, 3-2) have not played since Monday. "We won't do anything tomorrow but maybe look at some game film and go over our preparation for Saturday," pointed out Rowe. "We are so tired and banged up, I can't ask for anything more out of these girls."