CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (gomocs.com) --- For the second time in three years, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga came away with a stunning win over a ranked Tennessee Lady Vols Wednesday night at the McKenzie Arena.
“I just think we were aggressive enough,” Chattanooga Head Coach Jim Foster said. “We weren't aggressive in South Bend, but I think we learned a bit about ourselves.”
Chattanooga started strong and saw its lead climb to 37-20 with just one minute remaining in the first half and went into halftime at 37-21.
The Mocs saw their first half advantage dissipate down the stretch as the Lady Vols began chipping away at the lead. With 4:31 to play, UT grabbed two offensive boards and Jasmine Jones, who finished the game with a team-high 19 points, put back a layup to tie the game 57-57.
Chattanooga regained the lead, but the Lady Vols would tie it up three more times, the latest being a 63-63 tangle on a pair of free throws from Bashara Graves with 1:05 to play.
With a minute left in regulation Andraya Carter managed a steal and went for the layup and UTK's first lead since the 18:58 mark of the first half. But that was brought to a halt. Freshman Keiana Gilbert (Columbia, Tenn.), who led all scorers with a career-high 27 points, got her hands up for the block and the Mocs got the ball back.
“I was the only one who was really near her,” Gilbert said of the block. “So I just had to make sure that she didn't score to tie the game and get the lead.”
Junior Alicia Payne (Memphis, Tenn.) was fouled on her trip down the court and connected on just one of her two free throws to give the Mocs a slim 64-63 lead with 53 seconds remaining.
With senior Ka'Vonne Towns (Lilburn, Ga.) and sophomore Jasmine Joyner (Southaven, Tenn.) back in the game, Joyner grabbed a defensive rebound and was fouled. She too would make just one of her two charity tosses, putting the Mocs up 65-63.
Tennessee's Jasmine Jones missed her second jumper in as many tries in the final minute of play and Chattanooga would once again pounce on the rebound. Towns was fouled after the grab and made the most of her free throws, draining both with three seconds remaining to seal the win for the Mocs.
Gilbert was 11-of-19 on the night from the field and 5-of-7 from the free throw line while pulling down five rebounds and recording one important blocked shot. She was joined in double figures by redshirt senior Destiny Bramblett (Radcliff, Ky.) who had a career-high 12 points and five rebounds.
Sophomore Moses Johnson (Atlanta, Ga.) snared a career-best eight rebounds and added eight points in the contest while classmate Chelsey Shumpert (Paducah, Ky.) dished out four assists with eight points in 24 minutes.
Chattanooga was 24-of-45 from the field (53.3%) and was outscored in the paint 42-32 by the Lady Vols. The Mocs had 11 points off 14 Tennessee turnovers but gave up 13 points on 17 errors. Tennessee outrebounded Chattanooga 35-30 and converted 17 offensive boards into 26 points while the Mocs had just 11 points on eight off the offensive glass.
Jones led the Lady Vols with 19 points on 7-of-15 from the field and pulled down eight rebounds. Ariel Massengale hit a pair of 3-pointers and was the only other Tennessee player in double digits with 11 points.
Chattanooga improves to 4-2 on the year and will travel to Arkansas State for a Monday night matchup while the Lady Vols drop their first game of the year to move to 4-1. The Mocs next home game will be December 17 against No. 5 Stanford. The game tips at 6 p.m. Tickets are on sale at GoMocs.com and the McKenzie Arena box office.