UTC Women Fall to Samford 58-53 in SoCon Home Opener
(gomocs.com) CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — The Chattanooga women’s basketball team saw its first half lead fall away in the second, dropping its Southern Conference home-opener 58-53 to Samford Thursday night at The McKenzie Arena.
Chattanooga falls to 9-8 on the year and 1-1 in SoCon action while the Bulldogs even their record to 9-9 on the year and improve to 3-0 against the league.
Abbey Cornelius recorded her fourth double-double of the year with a game-high 16 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for the second straight game. Also posting a game-best was Yazz Wazeerud-Din who scored nine of her 16 points in the final quarter. She was 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. Raven Thompson dropped in 13 points with five rebounds and dished out a career-best four assists.
The first quarter saw the two programs put up 11 points apiece. Chattanooga shot 45.5 percent in the frame and got out front at the end of the second after shooting 7-of-14 from the field to lead 27-24 at the break.
However, the third quarter saw the Mocs stumble, shooting just 28.6 percent in the period. It took a while for either team to get into a rhythm in the third with both combining for seven misses on nine chances. Samford scored the first five points to get out front 29-27 with 6:58 to play in the frame.
Cornelius hit a layup to tie the game, 29-29 20 seconds later, but Samford replied on the ensuing possession to retake the lead. Almost a full minute later, Wazeerud-Din drained her second 3-pointer of the game to give UTC a 32-31 lead (5:17). The Bulldogs outscored the Mocs 12-5 the rest of the way led by Carly Heidger with six points, to lead 43-37 headed into the final 10 minutes.
In the fourth, Samford increased its lead to 45-37, but the Mocs would get a 7-0 run to cut that lead to 45-44 with 4:55 remaining on a pair of free throws from Thompson. UTC tied it up 50-50 with 3:07 to play on a free throw from Addie Grace Porter and took a 53-52 lead on Wazeerud-Din’s fifth 3-pointer of the game with 2:29 to play. However, that would be the final points for Chattanooga. Samford put up the last six points for the win.
Chattanooga shot 40.4 percent for the game and was 6-of-19 from the 3-point line, extending its 3-point shooting streak to 726 consecutive games. From the charity stripe, the Mocs made 5-of-11.
Chattanooga held the league leading scorer to just a team-best 13 points and one 3-pointer. She was 8-of-8 from the free throw line. Also in double digits for Samford was Kathleen Wheeler and Masyn Marchbanks with 11 points along with 10 points from Sussy Ngulefac. Wheeler was 3-of-5 from deep while Marchbanks and Heidger were each 2-of-2.
FROM THE HEAD COACH
On having close games
“It feels like I could stand up here and tell you the same story from six other games this year. You know, we’ve got to get mentally tougher down the stretch. With that said, I think our kids compete and we’ve put ourselves in this situation over and over and over again. We have to find a way.”
• Chattanooga held the league-leading scorer (18.2) to 13 points,
• Samford was held to 58 points, 9.6 points fewer than it’s average. The Bulldogs shot well below their average 44.6% from the field making just 20-of-53 (37.7%).
• Abbey Cornelius recorded her fourth double-double of the season.
• Yazz Wazeerud-Din was 5-of-8 from the 3-point line.
Flip the switch!! The Mocs will host Mercer in a WHITE OUT game Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at the Roundhouse. Chattanooga is 18-11 against Mercer all-time and 7-9 in SoCon regular season. UTC is 9-3 at home against the Bears and has lost four of the last five meetings.