Mocs women earn share of SoCon title with Saturday win
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC Athletics) — On a day set aside to honor seniors, the Chattanooga women’s basketball team gave it’s two a send off to remember. The Mocs held off ETSU to grab a share of their 22nd Southern Conference regular season title.
“I’m just so incredibly proud of this bunch,” Chattanooga head coach Katie Burrows said. “It was looking grim, as we all know, early on. They just kept pressing forward and they knew there was something more inside of them. I knew there was something more inside of them.”
Chattanooga (11-17) improved to 10-4 in SoCon play and finished in a tie atop the standings with Samford and UNCG. The Mocs will be the No. 2 seed in the upcoming SoCon Tournament and take on No. 7 Mercer on Thursday at the Harrah’s – Cherokee Center in Asheville, N.C. ETSU (9-20) is 4-10 and earned the No. 6 seed and will face UNCG.
The Mocs got off to a 4-0 lead to start the game, but that went away quickly and ETSU built up its lead to 25-17 midway through the second quarter. Chattanooga chipped away but couldn’t catch up. The Bucs carried a 33-29 lead into halftime.
The third quarter seemed to wake the Mocs. After missing all 10 3-point attempts in the first half, Bria Dial drained a trey to get UTC to within a pair at 38-36 at the 7:31 mark of the period. ETSU managed to hang on to its lead for most of the quarter, but Lakelyn Bouldin struck in the final minutes, scoring six straight, to put the Mocs out front and UTC would not trail again.
Bouldin drove the lane for a layup to cut the lead to 46-44 with 2:55 to go in the third. With 53 seconds remaining, she made the Mocs’ second and last 3-pointer and was fouled hard on the follow.
“We needed that in the first half,” Burrows said. “It’s impressive that she can have such focus to finish the shot and get knocked down as hard as she does and then have the opportunity for a four-point play. That was big time.”
Chattanooga led going into the final quarter for the eight time this season, 48-46. The Mocs never led by more than four points the entire game until NaKeia Burks was fouled shooting a 3-pointer and gave Chattanooga a 69-63 lead on her free throws.
Dial had a team-high 19 points and led four players in double figures and had seven rebounds. Cornelius was 8-of-8 from the free throw line and had 16 points and nine rebounds along with three assists and three blocked shots. Bouldin and Eboni Williams each had 12 points in the victory.
The Mocs were 21-of-46 from the field and made just 2-of-18 from the 3-point line. The difference in the game was at the charity stripe where UTC was 25-of-33 compared to ETSU’s 6-of-6 effort. However, the Bucs outshot the Mocs at the arc making 9-of-14.
E’Lease Stafford and Micah Scheetz each had a game-high 21 points and Shynia Jackson joined them in double figures with 14. The trio had all but one of the Bucs’ 3-pointers.
“The Stafford kid and the Scheetz kid did a really good job,” Burrows said. “Even the Jackson kid came in a hit a couple. We knew she was capable, but she was hitting them with a hand in her face, as were the other two. Impressed with the focus they had.”
The Mocs will leave for Asheville on Wednesday to prepare for the quarterfinal game against Mercer. Tickets are on sale at SoConSports.com for the five-day event.