ASHEVILLE, NC (WRCB) – Wes Moore didn't panic in the locker room at halftime of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's quarterfinal matchup in the Southern Conference Tournament.
Neither did his team.
Taylor Hall helped the Lady Mocs erased a rough first half with an early surge in the second to rally past Furman for a 60-38 win at UNC Asheville's Kimmel Arena on Saturday night.
Third-seeded UTC advances to face No. 2 Appalachian State in Sunday's semifinals at U.S. Cellular Arena. The Lady Mocs just beat the Mountaineers in Chattanooga to wrap up the regular season on Monday.
"When the other team has already played a game I feel the first half is to their advantage," UTC head coach Wes Moore said, adding the long wait for a 9 p.m. ET start made it even worse. "They've got the jitters out of the way. You're still feeling your way around a little bit.
"But I knew in the second half we'd have the advantage because we had the fresh legs."
Whitney Hood scored Chattanooga's first six points and sparked the Lady Mocs (22-8) to an early 14-8 lead, but then UTC seemed to hit a wall. Kaitlyn Murphy scored seven straight points to jumpstart a 14-0 Furman run to open an eight-point lead.
The Lady Mocs made just 6-of-23 field goals in the opening frame, the final one by Faith Dupree as part of a three-point play that cut the lead to 22-17 at the break.
Hall, the reigning SoCon Player of the Week, immediately turned the tide in the second half. The sophomore sensation hit two 3-pointers as part of an 8-0 run out of the locker room that pushed UTC back in front to stay.
"We all came out a little stiff in the first half. We had some jitters and everything, but we got it going in the second half and found some momentum and we were able to keep it going," said Hall, who hit four of her six 3-point attempts in the game.
Chattanooga also turned up the defense, holding the Lady Paladins to just 14 second-half points.
After going scoreless in the first half, Hall outscored Furman by herself in the second to finish with 16 points. Hood added 14 points, ten of them coming in the first half, and Kylie Lambert chipped in 10.
"Everybody was pretty confident (at the half). We've been down before this season. We knew how we needed to react to it, and we did," Hood said.
With the win, UTC advances to its eighth straight SoCon semifinal and 13th in the last 14 years.
Murphy and junior Teshia Griswold paced the way for the Paladins each scoring 10 points
(2) Appalachian State 61, (7) Western Carolina 43
ASHEVILLE, NC (SoCon) - Behind 17 points from junior Anna Freeman, the Appalachian State Mountaineers were able to defeat Western Carolina, 61-43 Saturday evening at Kimmel Arena to secure a spot in the 2012 Southern Conference Women's Basketball Tournament semifinals.
Second-seeded Appalachian State (24-5, 17-3 SoCon) jumped out to an early lead in the game, but the seventh-seeded Catamounts overcame a 19-point deficit and the Mountaineers only led by four points at the break.
Senior Kaila'Shea Menendez paced the Catamounts in the opening half with 11 points, including 3-of-4 three-pointers.
The Mountaineers controlled the second half going on a 14-2 run to open the stanza. Western Carolina's first score of the second half came with 12:21 remaining on the clock when sophomore Rena Wakama drove the lane and hit a layup.
Western Carolina (14-17, 8-12) was able to get within 11 points when Wakama hit a three, but Appalachian State continued to pull away leading by as many as 23 with a little under three minutes to play.
Freeman recorded a double-double with game-highs of 17 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Chakeitha Weldon put 16 points on the board for the Mountaineers.
Menendez led the way for Western Carolina with 16 points. She finished 4-of-6 from behind the arc and finished a perfect 2-for-2 from the charity stripe.
(4) Samford 67, (5) Elon 36
ASHEVILLE, NC (SoCon) - Samford took control of the game early and their control never relinquished as the Bulldogs snapped Elon's four-game winning streak, with a 67-36 victory in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Southern Conference Women's Basketball Tournament in Kimmel Arena.
The Bulldogs went on a 7-0 run to open the game before senior Aiesha Harper put Elon (16-14, 12-8 SoCon) on the board. Samford did not allow the Phoenix to hit double-digit points until 5:54 remained in the first half and sophomore Kelsey Evans completed a layup.
As a whole, Samford shot 70 percent from behind the arc in the first half, while Elon hit 2-of-10. The Bulldogs finished the game shooting 55 percent from long range. The Phoenix only completed a pair of threes in the contest.
"I think everyone was just tight," said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. "I tried to get everyone to relax during timeouts. I think it was just nerves and we need to find a way to calm them down and I think if we were out there making something happen offensively that would have settled us down."
Samford (18-12, 12-8 SoCon) held the Phoenix off, taking a 35-14 lead at the half.
"I was definitely pleased with our effort," said Samford head coach Mike Morris. "I thought we, from the defensive standpoint, set the tone for the game. I know we shot the ball well. I think they (seniors) brought that coolness, confidence and reassurance to the game. Not only for themselves, but for the team. I credit those three seniors for that confidence."
Off the bench, sophomore Shelby Campbell put up 13 points for the Bulldogs. As a whole, the Samford bench put 25 points on the scoreboard. Elon's bench tallied five points.
Freshman Taylor Reece paced Samford with a game-high 18 points. Reece, who was a member of the 2012 All-Freshman Team went 3-of-4 from behind the arc and was a perfect 3-for-3 from the charity stripe.
Junior Ali Ford led the way for the Phoenix with 11 points. Evans had nine points and pulled down a game-high nine boards.
Samford will play top-seeded Davidson tomorrow at noon in the semifinals at the U.S. Cellular Center.
(1) Davidson 67, (9) Wofford 58
ASHEVILLE, NC (SoCon) - The top-seeded Davidson Wildcats advanced to the semifinals of the 2012 Southern Conference Women's Basketball Tournament, following their 69-58 victory over No.9 Wofford Saturday afternoon in the Justice Center on the campus of UNC Asheville.
Wofford (13-18, 5-15 SoCon) opened the game by jumping out to an early 4-0 lead and the contest remained close throughout the half. The Terriers' largest lead came at 14:09 when they led by six points.
Both teams were perfect from the charity stripe in the first half.
Davidson (22-8, 17-3) took an 18-point lead over the Terriers following a 21-5 run. Senior Amanda Ottaway scored eight of her 14 points in the second half. Wofford came within ten, 58-48 with 1:48 remaining but junior Barbara Sitton hit 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch to seal Davidson's victory.
Sophomore Laura Murray connected on 3-of-6 shots from behind the arc and recorded a game-high 19 points. She also dished out a game-high five assists.
The Wofford bench accounted for 27 of the Terriers' points with junior Morgan Wrightson leading the way with 21 points. She also finished 7-of-9 from the free-throw line.
Junior Daniella Motley tallied 15 points and four rebounds. The Terriers' lone senior April Moorhouse pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.
Wofford finished the matchup 3-of-20 from three-point range and committed 24 turnovers.