UAB Falls Short of Fairfield, 59-54, In Opener

UABSPORTS.COM Senior Ashley Grimes tallied 26 points against Fairfield.
Senior Ashley Grimes tallied 26 points against Fairfield.

Nov. 8, 2013

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -UAB's women's basketball team rallied from a 16-point second half deficit and senior Ashley Grimes scored a game-high 26 points Friday, but it wasn't enough as the Blazers opened their season with a 59-54 loss to Fairfield in a first round game of the Emerald Beach Islanders Classic.

"I thought we competed much better in the second half," said head coach Randy Norton. "We were down 16 points, but came back and took a two point lead after going on a 21-6 run in nine minutes. We just cannot get down like that. We have to value every possession."

UAB (0-1), playing its season opener, shot 35.6 percent from the field, including 42.4 percent in the second half. The Blazers won the rebounding battle with 39 to Fairfield's 32. Fouls hurt the Blazers, as Fairfield (1-0) got to the free throw line 31 times and hit 19.

UAB trailed 39-23 with 15:12 remaining before staging a fierce comeback to take a 46-44 lead with 7:01 left on a Grimes three-pointer.

Grimes scored 18 of her points in the second half, and added eight rebounds on the afternoon. Fellow senior Karisma Chapman added 15 points, eight of which came in the final two minutes of play, and sophomore Chelsee Black tallied 11 points. Sophomore Kayla Anderson grabbed eight rebounds and Black added five.

Fairfield jumped out to an 11-0 lead in the first half, but the Blazers went on a 7-0 run to pull within four. The Stags countered with a run of their own and stretched the lead to 20-10 with 7:56 remaining in the half. From there, the teams traded baskets but the Blazers cut the lead to nine after a layup by Black to send the game into the half with Fairfield up 28-19.

In the second half, UAB went on a 15-0 run that was capped off by a three-pointer from Grimes to give Fairfield a 43-41 lead with 8:18 left in the game. A foul sent the Stags to the line as they made the second of two. On the next possession for the Blazers, Grimes hit a quick layup before a turnover by Fairfield gave the ball back to UAB.

It was Grimes' three-pointer that gave the Blazers a 46-44 lead -- their first of the game -- with just over seven minutes remaining. UAB couldn't hold the lead as Fairfield put together a 10-0 run to go up 54-46. The Blazers kept fighting as Chapman scored three layups and converted two free throws to pull UAB within three, but they were unable to overcome the deficit.

Katie Cizynski led Fairfield with 14 points with Kristin Schatzlein adding 10.

UAB will play its second game of the Emerald Beach Islanders Classic Saturday. The Blazers will face Western Illinois Saturday, Nov. 9 at 5 p.m. CT.

For the latest news on Blazer sports, follow the UAB Athletics Twitter account: @UABathletics. For women's basketball news, follow @UAB_WBB.