With his young team losing its conference opener in the closing seconds, Paine women’s coach Willie Adams wanted to get across one message Thursday night.
“We have to finish,” he said.
Amelia Dorton scored two of her game-high 23 points with a jumper in the waning moments to lift Tuskegee to a 51-50 win over the Lady Lions.
Paine (2-8, 0-1) trailed most of the second half, but it almost recovered from a tough night on the court. The Lady Lions shot 37 percent from the field, allowed 28 offensive boards to the Tigerettes and committed 27 turnovers.
Ashley Watts, a 79 percent free-throw shooter, had two opportunities to give Paine the lead in the final minute. She swished only one of four attempts and finished with 14 points.
The Lady Lions took a one-point lead when Watts lobbed a pass to BreAsia Burns on the far side of the court for a layup with 19.5 seconds remaining.
Tuskegee called timeout, responding with a Dorton bucket in the lane.
With 6.5 seconds left, Watts flew down the right side of the court. Despite two defenders in her face, she threw up an off-balance 3-pointer blocked by Dorton, who was immediately fouled.
After Dorton missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Paine called time with two seconds left.
Ariel Brown’s prayer from midcourt sailed high over the backboard.
“All we had to do was get one stop,” Adams said. “You play good defense, you get one stop.”
Tuskegee (3-6, 1-0) shot only 24 percent from the floor. But the Tigerettes outrebounded Paine, 54-45, and also shot 76 percent from the free-throw line.