SAN ANTONIO, Texas (GoMocs.com)--- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team pulled out a 59-49 win against SIU Edwardsville in the opening game of the UTSA Holiday Classic at the Convocation Center Sunday afternoon. UTC improves to 10-3 on the year while the Cougars fall to 5-7 overall.
Senior Ka'Vonne Towns (Lilburn, Ga.) was 3-of-4 from the 3-point line in the second half to help the Mocs to expand their five-point halftime advantage. Towns was 4-of-4 from the free throw line down the stretch and closed out with a game-high 17 points.
Sophomore transfer Sydney Vanlandingham (Hermitage, Tenn.) scored all 11 of her season-high points in the first half making 6-of-7 from the free throw line. Sophomore Chelsey Shumpert (Paducah, Ky.) was the Mocs third player in double figures with 10 points and added four assists.
In the first half, Chattanooga took a brief 5-2 lead at the start of the game, but fell behind on a 7-0 run by the Cougars in a 31 second span, trailing 9-5. SIUE went on to grab its largest lead of the game, 17-12 with 10:11 to go in the opening frame.
However, it would be all Mocs basketball over the next 2:44 and Vandlandingham's first points of her Chattanooga career put her team ahead for the first time in more than 10 minutes. The Mocs would not trail again in the game, but SIUE would knot it up three more times.
The Mocs stretched a 12-2 run over the final 3:07 of the first half and 1:54 into the second half to grab a 10-point lead, 36-26. Just moments later, Towns drained the first of her three 3-pointers for Chattanooga making it 39-28 with 17:34 to play.
The Cougars would draw close again, getting to within 3-points three times but Chattanooga would hold on to its lead despite not scoring a field goal over the final 5:16 of the game. The Mocs defense held as well, not allowing SIUE a bucket in the final 8:03.
Towns went 4-of-4 from the free throw line in the final 30 seconds for the Mocs win.
Sophomore Jasmine Joyner (Southaven, Miss.) sat early with foul trouble but closed out the game with a team-high seven rebounds and three blocked shots. Junior Alicia Payne (Memphis, Tenn.) was 2-for-5 from the 3-point line and closed out the game with six points, five rebounds and three assists.
Chattanooga was 18-of-52 from the field with half behind the arc (9-of-27) and 14-of-17 from the free throw line. UTC scored 17 points off 16 SIUE turnovers and both teams got 18 points from their bench. The Cougars ruled the paint, outscoring UTC 24-14. The Mocs were outrebounded 37-32 but managed 11 second chance points off 11 offensive boards.
Shronda Butts led SIUE with 13 points making 6-of-8 from the free throw line. Micah Jones was 5-of-19 from the floor with 12 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals. Gwen Adams was 3-of-3 from the field and chipped in eight points for the Cougars.
SIUE shot 17-of-50 (34%) from the field, made just 2-of-7 from beyond the arc and was 13-of-18 from the charity stripe.