Full team effort earns Mocs win over Samford
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC Athletics) — Senior Lakelyn Bouldin led five Chattanooga players in double figures Saturday afternoon at the Roundhouse to come away with a 64-58 Southern Conference women’s basketball victory over Samford.
The Mocs (10-17) improve to 9-4 in SoCon action, moving half a game ahead of the Bulldogs (13-14) who fall to 8-4. The win was the fourth straight for Chattanooga and sixth of its last seven.
“Fortunately, we were able to get Lakelyn [Bouldin] some looks early and she was hot,” Chattanooga head coach Katie Burrows said. “It opened up opportunities for others because they couldn’t help off of her because if they did, she was going to bust another three in their eyes. We were fortunate that we were able to get more production from other folks.”
Bouldin had a team-high 18 points making 3-of-4 from the 3-point line early. Eboni Williams had 14 points and a game-high tying three steals. Abbey Cornelius and Bria Dial chipped in 11 apiece and Bria Dial had 10 points.
The Mocs led 33-28 at the half but fell behind 39-35 on an 11-2 run by the Bulldogs with 4:34 to play in the quarter. After the media timeout in the frame, the Mocs briefly retook the lead but Samford closed out the third ahead 42-40.
“I said ‘Guys, this is right where we like to be,’” Burrows said. “’We have a flair for the dramatic. We like to make a nice comeback and get after it.’
“It lightened the mood a little bit and they went out and took care of business.”
The fourth quarter started with Samford transfer Ta’Naisha Hill hitting a 3-pointer to give the Bulldogs their largest lead of the game, 45-40.
The Mocs mounted a comeback after that basket, putting together a 10-1 run to lead 50-46.
Samford’s final lead of the game was a layup by Natalie Armstrong to put the Bulldogs up 53-52 with 3:47 remaining.
Ten of the Mocs’ final 15 points would come at the free throw line. Williams tied the game 53-53 making the first of her two attempts. Bouldin drove the lane for a pull up jumper, drawing the foul and connecting on the free throw to make it 58-53.
Armstrong got it back to within three just moments later with a layup for her game-high 20th point. Samford head coach Carley Kuhns subbed Armstrong, with four fouls, was subbed out on the Mocs possession. Cornelius was fouled and sent to the line of the throw-in and pushed UTC’s lead back to five points at 60-55 with 32 seconds to play.
Armstrong returned to the lineup and was subsequently whistled for her fifth foul, sending Bria Dial to the stripe with 30 seconds on the clock. Her points gave UTC its biggest lead of the quarter, 62-55.
A three-point play made it a four-point game, 62-59 with 13 seconds remaining. Samford put Dial back on the line for her final two points with 11 seconds to go making it 64-58.
Samford advanced the ball and missed its first 3-point attempt. After getting the offensive rebound, Williams blocked the next shot from distance and Dial came up with the rebound to end the game.
UTC was 14-of-17 at the line and made 10-of-11 in the final period. The Mocs shot 50 percent (22-44) from the field and made 6-of-16 from beyond the arc. Chattanooga gave up 14 points on 12 turnovers and had 15 on 13 Bulldog mistakes. Samford out battled the Mocs in the paint 28-22 and had 10 second chance points on 11 offensive rebounds.
All of Chattanooga’s scoring came from its starting five. The last time UTC had five in double figures was Jan. 17, 2015 against Western Carolina at the Roundhouse.
The Mocs will host East Tennessee State next Saturday for the final game of the season on Feb. 29. Chattanooga will honor its seniors Lakelyn Bouldin and NaKeia Burks after the game.