FINAL: Lady Mocs lose to Mississippi St. in round one of NCAA To - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

FINAL: Lady Mocs lose to Mississippi St. in round one of NCAA Tournament

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UTC Lady Mocs Head Coach Jim Foster UTC Lady Mocs Head Coach Jim Foster

STARKVILLE, Miss. ( --- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team took control early, but couldn't hold on, falling 60-50 to No. 15 Mississippi State Friday afternoon at Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, Miss., in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Chattanooga (24-8) came out shooting hot and took a 16-11 lead in the first quarter. State (27-7) used a strong second quarter offensive push to outscore the Mocs 18-5 and led 29-21 at the break.
Junior Jasmine Joyner (Southaven, Miss.) only saw three minutes of action in the first half after picking up two quick fouls. She would respond with 11 straight points in the third quarter to lead Chattanooga with 17 points before fouling out with 2:11 to play.
"I thought they were legit fouls, so Jasmine has to adjust," Chattanooga head coach Jim Foster said. "Shot blockers have a mentality that you're not going to block a player that is bigger then you, you're objective should be to get into position. I think she'll learn from that."
Redshirt sophomore Aryanna Gilbert (Pulaski, Tenn.) played all 40 minutes, along with her sister sophomore Keiana Gilbert (Pulaski, Tenn.) the duo each dropped in 10 points and combined for 10 rebounds and three steals.
Senior Alicia "Red" Payne (Memphis, Tenn.), playing in her 130th and final game with Chattanooga, finished with five points and five assists.
The Mocs started the game making its first three jumpers to take a 7-1 lead at the 7:56 mark. Payne converted a 3-point play to give Chattanooga its largest lead of the game, 14-7, with 3:44 to play in the first quarter.
The second quarter belonged to the Bulldogs who outscored UTC 18-5. Teaira McCowan tied the game with a short jumper in the paint at the 3:39 mark of the frame and a 3-pointer from LaKaris Salter put Mississippi State out front for good, 24-21 with 2:55 until half. MSU added five more points for a 29-21 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, MSU stretched its lead to 33-21 to start the second half, but the Mocs stepped up its offense with Joyner back in the game to cut it to 37-35.
Aryanna Gilbert hit a short jumper to spark a 14-4 UTC run over the next 3:50. In the stretch, Joyner scored eight of her team-high 17 points. After MSU added another five points to get back out front 42-35, Joyner drained a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to make it 42-38.
The Mocs would make it a three-point game with 5:57 to play in the game on a pair of Joyner free throws, but the Bulldogs put it into overdrive and outscored the Mocs 11-4 over the final 3:21 to take the win and advance to the next round.
Chattanooga shot 53.3 percent in the opening period and 57.1 percent in the third while hitting for 20-of-51 (39.2%) for the game. The Mocs had just two 3-pointers for the game while holding the Bulldogs to just 3-of-12. At the line, UTC was 8-of-9 and Mississippi State converted 15-of-20.
The Bulldogs outrebounded UTC 44-29 and outscored the Mocs 34-24 in the paint. The Mocs held MSU to 17 percent shooting in the opening quarter but the Bulldogs were 50 percent from the field over each of the next two quarters, making 33.3 percent of their efforts for the game.
Victoria Vivians led all scorers with 19 points with seven rebounds. Okorie had 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Ketara Chapel had seven boards and dished out five assists and McCowan grabbed seven rebounds.
The loss snapped an 11-game UTC win streak.
Mississippi State, seeded fifth, with take on fourth-seeded Michigan State Sunday.

( - The Chattanooga women's basketball team held practice at Humphrey's Coliseum Thursday afternoon in preparation for its first round NCAA matchup with Mississippi State Friday afternoon in Starkville, Miss.
The Mocs, in their 14th NCAA Tournament, drew a 12-seed for the eighth time. Chattanooga's best seeding was a seven last year. Its lowest seed was a 13 in 2002 and again in 2013. The Mocs lone win in the tournament was a 74-69 win over Rutgers in 2004 in Chattanooga. UTC was a 10-seed and fell in the next round to Vanderbilt.
Thursday's activities included a press conference with head coach Jim Foster and student-athletes Alicia Payne, Jasmine Joyner and Keiana Gilbert. Following that, UTC headed to the court for a light practice.
The game will tip at approximately 2:30 p.m. Eastern time Friday afternoon. It will be the second game of the first round in Starkville. Fourth-seeded Michigan State will take on 13-seed Belmont in the opening game. It will tip at 12:00 p.m. EDT.
Jim Foster, Chattanooga Head Coach:
On what makes Alicia Payne a good defensive player…
"Her attitude about it, the prioritites she places on it and her basketball IQ."
On how much one should concentrate on one player like Victoria Vivians…
"We are going to guard her in some form or matter. I think every team comes out there with a game plan. I think we have to be discipline in the framework of what they are going to do to get her the ball. If we stay discipline within our framework, then that becomes a matchup relative to whoever she is playing against. We played against some really good offensive players this year, and we have done a very good job of guarding them. But it has to do with the team handling the sets, screens, movement and player."
On if there is a guard trio presenting a challenge to them…
"We play a lot of times against teams that play four guards, so we guard the perimeter very well. I think we are seventh in the country in defending the three point field goal. Geno [Auriemma] and I go back and fourth week-to-week with who leads the country in fewest fouls commited and I think we have a 10thof a foul lead as we enter this tournament, so we are going to try to recapture that."
On what Jasmine Joyner provides this team…
"She is a very good shot blocker and has became a very good offensive player especially away from the basket, that has been her biggest improvement. She is a rebounder. She rebounds well. I think she leads the country in blocked shots, so that speaks to that. She is disciplined within the framework of it. She isn't the kind of player to pick up silly fouls. She has gotten a lot more dicisipline then what shots she attempts to block."
Jasmine Joyner, Chattanooga Forward:
On what it's going to be like playing in her home state…
"When I first saw it, I was excited to see our name up there at the selection show and then when I saw it was at Mississippi State, I was even more excited. My mom was calling me a million times saying she gets to see me play, along with many other friends and family calling me. It was really exciting."
On what it is going to be like playing against the peoples team on their home floor…
"Basically, we just have to focus and play our best game against the people's team. I would say we are a people's team for Chattanooga too with how much we help the community and stuff. I guess it's the peoples team versus the people's team."
On how she would describe her team…
"We are a defensive team. We just found ourselves maybe 11 or 12 games ago. Our chemistry is very good. We're talking more on the court. Mostly, we are a defensive team and defense turns to offense for us."
Alicia Payne, Chattanooga Guard:
On what makes her a good defensive player…
"I think I just have the attitude about it. I hate for people to score on me, so I just play good defense so it won't happen."
On what they have to do to limit Victoria Vivians…

"She just moves off the ball really well, comes off screens and she's a great shooter, thats what makes her good. We just have to make every shot hard for her and let nobody get too comfortable."
Keiana Gilbert, Chattanooga Guard:
On playing in an arena that averages 6,200 people per game…
"I think we will be okay playing here. I don't think we should let the crowd get to our heads. We just maintain our focus and play like we usually do and we will be alright."

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