Dominating Third Quarter Lifts UTC Women Over Rival ETSU
(gomcos.com) JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga outscored ETSU 26-8 in the third quarter Friday night at Brooks Gym to claim a 70-62 win over the Bucs in Southern Conference women’s basketball action. The Mocs improve to 15-9 on the year and 9-1 in league play and hold on to first in the SoCon standings. ETSU falls to 14-11 overall and 6-4 against the conference.
“We were tentative, we weren’t aggressive in the first half,” Chattanooga head coach Jim Foster said. “The second half was a completely different story. I challenged them. I wasn’t happy with us at halftime. It was inexplicable to me.”
Senior Jasmine Joyner led Chattanooga with 18 points and a season-high-tying 16 rebounds on her way to her ninth double-double of the year. She was joined in double figures by freshman Lakelyn Bouldin and junior Keiana Gilbert.
Bouldin was 3-of-6 from the 3-point line with 14 points and added six rebounds. Gilbert had 10 points and four boards to go along with a pair of blocked shots and two steals. Junior Aryanna Gilbert (Pulaski, Tenn.) came off the bench with nine points, three rebounds and two blocked shots and junior Chelsey Shumpert had eight points with a pair of 3-pointers and a team-high three assists.
Chattanooga trailed 31-25 heading into halftime. After shooting just 35.7 percent in the first quarter and trailing 16-10 after the first 10 minutes, the Mocs shot 58.3 percent in the second quarter, matching the Bucs in points with 15. UTC was just 1-of-8 from the 3-point line in the first half and didn’t attempt a single free throw in the opening two periods.
After a challenge from head coach Jim Foster, the Mocs came out on fire in the third quarter going 5-for-5 over the first 2:31 and claimed the lead for the first time. ETSU scored first in the frame, pushing its lead to 33-25. The Mocs put up a couple of layups to get within four points, 33-29 less than a minute into the period.
“You have to play like you’re the best team because everyone is going to give you their best shot and they came out and gave us their best shot,” Foster said. “Then we went after them.”
The Bucs’ Raven Dean made the first of two free throws to get back up by five points, but that lead would soon disappear. Keiana Gilbert grabbed the rebound on the second missed free throw and sent a pass down court to senior Queen Alford who would hit the first of three straight UTC 3-pointers to make it a two point game and the Bucs’ last lead at the 8:31 mark.
Shumpert drained a 3-pointer to give the Mocs its first lead, 35-34 at the 7:52 mark. Bouldin followed with a 3-pointer of her own to make it 38-34 with 7:29 to go in the third as the Mocs’ bench erupted in celebration.
Four more points from UTC capped off a 13-0 run, giving Chattanooga its then-largest lead, 42-34 at the 4:37 mark of the frame. The Mocs outscored ETSU 9-5 over the rest of the period and headed into the final quarter with a 51-39 lead.
East Tennessee State started the final frame with a 10-0 run, cutting UTC’s lead to just 53-49 at the 7:05 mark. Bouldin made her final two 3-pointers 1:40 along with a fast break layup from senior Moses Johnson (Atlanta, Ga.) to put the Mocs back up by 12 with 5:25 to play.
The Bucs outscored the Mocs 13-9 the rest of the way but it wouldn’t be enough and the Mocs would hold off ETSU for the win.
Shamauria Bridges led ETSU with a game-high 24 points. She was 8-of-21 from the field and 4-of-14 from the 3-point line. Raven Dean had 12 points and a team-best seven rebounds while Tianna Tarter, the league’s leading scorer, was held well below her average with 11 points . She had three assists and a game-best four steals.
Joyner has 100 rebounds this season for her third straight year with at least 100. She is tied with Breanna Stewart (UConn, 2013-16) for 11th all-time in the NCAA with 414. Her 18 points pushed her over 1200 for her career, passing Brooke Hand (2004-08) for 18th on the Mocs all-time list.
Chattanooga remains on the road next week at UNCG on Thursday, Feb. 16 and then travels to Western Carolina on Saturday, Feb. 18. The Mocs will close out the regular season the following week with a pair of home games. UTC will look to avenge its loss to Furman and then face Wofford two days later on Senior Day.