Wes Moore leads N.C. State to win over Mocs in his return to McKenzie Arena
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s basketball team fell 78-58 to 10th-ranked NC State Friday night at the McKenzie Arena in a family reunion of sorts for both head coaches. Chattanooga falls to 4-9 overall and the Wolfpack remains undefeated, improving to 12-0 on the year.
NC State head coach Wes Moore called the game from the visitor’s bench for just the second time in his career but came out with the win over his former team and former player, Chattanooga head coach Katie Burrows.
The Mocs’ post players carried the load with the three combining for 31 of the Mocs’ points. Arianne Whitaker led UTC with season-high 13 points. She was 5-of-7 from the field and dropped in all three free throw attempts. Rochelle Lee was 4-of-8, hitting a 3-pointer and making both free throw attempts, posted a career-high 11 points. Abbey Cornelius chipped in a season-best seven points, making 3-of-4 from the field with a trey.
The Wolfpack got off to a 9-0 start before Brooke Burns buried a 3-pointer, but NC State would add seven more to the tally before Chattanooga hit again, this time a layup by Whitaker. The Wolfpack pushed the lead to double digits and held a 23-12 advantage after one quarter.
The game would even out throughout the second and third quarters with the NC State only outscoring the Mocs by four points over the next 21:02, but still led 62-47 with 8:40 to play. The Wolfpack stepped up the game, however, and pushed its lead to as much as 25 points on a jumper from Grace Hunter with 2:42 to play.
Whitaker closed out the game with the final five points for the Mocs in the last minute.
UTC had a season-low 11 turnovers and scored nine points on 11 Wolfpack miscues. Lakelyn Bouldin had five of the Mocs’ 12 assists on the night and Molly Melton grabbed three steals.
NC State outscored Chattanooga 44-22 in the paint and 15-9 off turnovers. Both benches contributed with the Mocs getting 30 points and NCSU tallying 34 from the reserves.
Elissa Cunane had a game-high 19 points making 7-of-9 from the field and 5-of-6 from the charity stripe and added five rebounds. Hunter had 17 points and was 7-of-7 from the line. Kiara Leslie was the third NC State player in double figures with 12 points.
Chattanooga was 7-of-20 from beyond the arc with six different players ripping the net from distance. The Mocs’ 9-of-9 performance from the free throw line was its best of the season. UTC shot 38.2 percent for the game with a 58.3 percent effort in the second quarter.
Following the game, Moore and Burrows welcomed former players from the Wes Moore era (1998-2013) for a reception. The players looked through old media guides and photos and shared stories from their playing days while introducing children and spouses as they reconnected.
Chattanooga will enjoy a few days off for the holiday break before heading to New York for the Fordham Holiday Classic. The Mocs will face off against Middle Tennessee on the opening day and face either Fordham or Maine on the second day.