CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (GoMocs.com) --- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team rallied in the third quarter, outscoring No. 19 Florida 23-17 in the frame to take a brief lead, but couldn't sustain the rally, falling 72-61 at the McKenzie Arena Monday night.
The loss was just the third for UTC in six years, dating back to the start of the 2011-12 season. Chattanooga is 66-3 over that time. The Mocs fall to 1-1 on the year and Florida remains unbeaten at 2-0.
After falling behind 23-13 in the first quarter, UTC bounced back, edging the Gators 15-12 in the period. Redshirt sophomore Shelbie Davenport (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) drained a 3-pointer as time wound down go get the Mocs to within seven at the half, 35-28.
The Mocs cut the lead to 37-33 less than one minute into the third quarter on a 3-pointer from freshman Lakelyn Bouldin (Spencer, Tenn.). Florida rebuilt its lead, getting out front 40-33 at the 7:30 mark but UTC wouldn't go away and went on a 6-0 run to make it 40-39 Florida at the 5:49 mark.
The Gators pulled away again, however, and pushed its lead to 50-42 just two minutes later. Again, the Mocs would not let Florida maintain its run. Davenport drained another 3-pointer before the Mocs forced a turnover to put the ball into senior Jasmine Joyner's (Southaven, Miss.) hands. Her layup, assisted by junior Keiana Gilbert (Pulaski, Tenn.), made it a three point game, 50-47, with 1:30 in the frame.
Chattanooga would only let the Gators get one shot off the next two trips down the field and UTC took advantage with Bouldin giving UTC the lead, 51-50, with 22 seconds to play.
Florida retook the lead as the period came to a close on a jumper from Eleanna Christinaki who led all scorers with 29 points on 13-of-24 shooting.
The Mocs managed to tie it up twice in the fourth quarter, the first on a three-point play by Davenport to make it 54-54. After a pair of Gator free throws to make it 56-54, Gilbert hit a shot in the paint to tie it up one final time. Florida outscored UTC 16-5 over the remaining 7:48 to get the win.
Christinaki led the Gators with a game-high nine rebounds. Haley Lorenzen had 16 points, making 8-of-15 from the floor while Ronni Williams was the third UF player in double figures with 10 points and eight boards.
Joyner led the Mocs with 16 points, making all four free throw attempts. Davenport hit a UTC career-best with 14 points, making 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and getting four dishes. The Mocs shot 38.9 percent (21-54) on the night and were 7-of-22 from beyond the arc. The Mocs were 12-of-13 from the charity stripe and 29-of-31 over the first two games.
Bouldin and senior Moses Johnson each had nine points and redshirt junior Chelsey Shumpert(Paducah, Ky.) added eight points and four assists.
Florida had a 46-26 advantage on the boards with 18 offensive rebounds giving them a 16-2 benefit. In the paint, Florida outscored the Mocs 38-26 and had 10 points on fastbreaks. Chattanooga had a scored 16 points off 17 Gator miscues while giving up 11 points on 16 turnovers. The Mocs' bench outscored Florida 32-8.
The Mocs remain at home to host #23 Indiana Thursday night. The game is set to tip off at 6:30 p.m. Follow the action live at GoMocs.com with live scoring, streaming audio and streaming video. Larry Ward will have the call on 96.1 FM The Legend. Tickets are available at GoMocs.com or at the McKenzie Arena box office.