His sixth-ranked Lady Flames (8-1) were certainly better in Saturday’s win over Lindsey Wilson College (6-4).
With junior Hollie German and sophomore Jenna Adams leading the way, Lee turned back a couple of comeback attempts by the visiting Blue Raiders in posting the convincing 71-45 victory.
German finished with 27 points and three assists, while Adams had her third straight double-double, 21 points and 10 rebounds.
“I thought we just outworked them,” said Rowe after his club scored its fifth win. “We beat a good basketball team today and for the most part played well. I always want to say we played harder than our opponent.”
Behind the shooting of German and Adams, the Lady Flames led by as many as 21 points in the first half, but the Blue Raiders rallied to cut the halftime lead to 38-25 and came out strong to open the final 20 minutes, chopping the margin to 10 (51-41) with some 16 minutes remaining.
“For some reason we starting playing behind (Ashley) Rainey late in the first half and in the early part of the second,” noted Rowe. “You can’t do that against a 6-foot-2 player who averages 20 points and 14 rebounds a game.” Rainey finished the afternoon with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
But German and Adams quickly went back to work and by the midway point of the second stanza the Lady Flames were back on top by 21 and pulling away.
Freshman Melanie Barker also contributed all six of her points in the final Lee run and senior Julia Zimmerman knocked down a key 3-pointer.
“For the most part we were able to contain Rainey and I thought Brooke (Hamby) and Hollie (German) did a good job of holding (Jasmine) Brimm to eight points. She averages 16 a game,” noted Rowe.
Lindsey Wilson only made 16-of-46 shots from the field (35 percent). The Kentucky crew lost the rebounding battle, 35-30, but did grab eight offensive boards. Lee shot 30-of-62 overall (48 percent), but struggled in the second half from behind the arc and made just 8-of-27 (30 percent) for the game.
“It was a physical game and that is the way I like it called,” admitted Rowe.
The Lady Flames were awarded only four free throws over the entire game and the Blue Raiders went to the line 14 times and canned nine. The contest was played in what might have been a record time of 90 minutes.
Lee’s defense forced Lindsey Wilson into 18 floor mistakes and committed only eight turnovers. Hamby, who paces the SSAC in assists per game, dished off four assists before leaving the game with a shoulder injury midway through the second half. “Right now we are told it is a stinger, but we’ll give her a couple of days off and have her checked again. She’s a tough kid,” added Rowe.
The Lady Flames will complete final exams and return to action Thursday, hosting 13th-ranked Bethel University in a contest scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.
“It will match two good teams,” said Rowe. “We’d encourage all our fans to turn out and support us.”
Lee closes out the pre-Christmas hoops season on the road, traveling to Pikeville (Ky.) on Dec. 18 and then at Brescia University on the 20th.