Mocs fall by 50-point deficit to No. 7 Lady Vols

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UTC Athletics) — The Chattanooga Mocs fell 91-41 Monday night at Thompson-Boling Arena to seventh-ranked Tennessee in non-conference women’s basketball action. The loss drops UTC to 2-12 overall and the Lady Vols improve to 11-1 on the year.

Guard Amaria Pugh led the Mocs offensive effort with a season-high 17 points and freshman Destiny McClendon added nine. Each had a pair of 3-pointers and combined for 8-of-10 from the free throw line.

The Mocs couldn’t get the ball to fall early, shooting just 12.5 percent (2-16) in the first quarter, but picked it up in the second making 5-of-13 (38.5%) and trailed 43-19 at halftime. For the game, UTC was 12-of-53 (22.6%) from the field and dropped in five from beyond the arc. At the free throw line, Chattanooga was 12-of-20.

“I was talking to the group in the locker room about some things that were disappointing including the fact that we didn’t shoot the ball well,” Chattanooga head coach Katie Burrows said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well at all. I felt like our shot selection was pretty good, getting good looks and moving the ball.”

Abbey Cornelius, a Knoxville native, had a team-best seven rebounds and Sigrun Olafsdottir dished out four assists and grabbed six boards while Lara Habling and Olafsdottir each had two steals. Habling came in late and scored four points in her four minutes on the court. She was fouled as Pugh made one of her 3-pointers in the fourth and converted her two free throw attempts.

Besides offensive troubles, the Mocs found themselves hurting early on the defensive end with Cornelius getting called for a pair of fouls in the first and then another in the second. Fellow post Leah Jones also had three by the half getting whistled for a pair in the opening period as well.

Tennessee had three in double figures led by Tamari Key with 18. Alexis Dye dropped in 15 and Karoline Striplin added 12 with a team-best nine rebounds. The Lady Vols outrebounded UTC 56-14 and scored 15 second chance points on 16 offensive boards. UT dominated the paint 60-14 and scored 24 points of 21 UTC miscues.

The game was a reunion of sorts for Burrows and Tennessee coaches Kellie and Jon Harper. The Harpers were assistant coaches at Chattanooga for three seasons while Burrows was a player. Burrows graduated in 2004 and Kellie Harper accepted a head coaching position at Western Carolina following that season. Jon accompanied his wife to her new job.

“It’s pretty cool to go from Kellie being my favorite player, such a fun player to watch and model after, and an even better person, to her coaching me to us playing against each other,” Burrows said of the long relationship between the two.

The Mocs were without starting point guard Dena Jarrells who, along with post Karsen Murphy, missed the game due to illness following the holiday break.

Notes of the game
– The game was a homecoming for Abbey Cornelius, a Knoxville native. Her high school graduation took place in Thompson-Boling Arena.
– Katie Burrows and Kellie Harper and both are head coaches at their alma maters. Kellie Harper, along with husband Jon, was an assistant at UTC from 2001-04 in Burrows final three seasons as a student-athlete for the Mocs.
– Amaria Pugh scored a season-high 17 points to lead the Mocs.

Categories: Sports, Sports – Local Sports News, Sports – UT Vols, Sports – UTC Mocs