published Friday, March 22nd, 2013

UTC's Faith Dupree doing what she can to score

Faith Dupree and the Lady Mocs arrived in College Station, Texas, on Thursday.
Faith Dupree and the Lady Mocs arrived in College Station, Texas, on Thursday.
Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Faith Dupree is on the court to score. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga junior has played 235 minutes this basketball season — she missed two months with a knee injury — and attempted 124 shots. No other Lady Moc shoots with anything close to that frequency.

"Sometimes people call me a black hole," said the 6-foot-3 center, who is fourth on the team in scoring at 6.5 points per game. "As soon as I get it, it's gone somewhere. I feel like that can be a good thing sometimes, but it can also be a bad thing."

When Dupree is on, when that high-arching shot of hers is falling, it's a good thing because she can put up 6-10 points in a hurry. She averages only 11.8 minutes per game, so every minute on the court is valuable.

"To be able to contribute, even with limited minutes, I try to do as much as I can in those limited minutes," she said Tuesday.

The Tennessee transfer made her first career start in the season opener against her former team, and she helped UTC (29-3) upset the Lady Vols. It was the start of a special season for the Lady Mocs, who are the No. 11 seed in the Norfolk Region of the NCAA tournament and face No. 6 seed Nebraska (23-8) in the first round Saturday at Texas A&M's Reed Arena.

Dupree had six points and three rebounds against UT. A few days later, she had 12 points, three rebounds and three assists in a win at Belmont. Three days after that, on Nov. 17, she went down with a left knee injury against East Tennessee State.

At first the injury looked like it might end her season. Then the good news: It was a sprain that would take some time and a lot of effort to heal, but Dupree might be back by March. She was back in January, in time to help the Lady Mocs (29-3) earn a critical road win at Davidson.

"She's never stopped battling and fighting to get back to where she is now," UTC forward Taylor Hall said Wednesday.

In her first game back, Dupree played 14 minutes off the bench, scoring 11 points. It hasn't all been easy since then -- far from it. Her knee still bothers her, and her bad back, which forced her to redshirt as a freshman at UT, is still an everday question mark.

Asked how she felt Tuesday, here was Dupree's answer: "I don't feel too bad. I've gone probably a week or so without any major pain in my knee or back, so I'll take that and go with it."

This hasn't been the season, at least individually, that Dupree was hoping for, but it's March and the Lady Mocs are still playing and she helped make that happen.

"With the cards I was dealt this season, I'm happy with being able to contribute," she said.

The Lady Mocs arrived in College Station on Thursday. They will participate in a news conference this afternoon before practicing for 90 minutes.

about John Frierson...

John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...

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