Mocs snap losing streak in final non-conference game
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga held off Maine Sunday afternoon 66-61 at the Fordham Holiday Classic to close out its non-conference slate with a 5-10 overall record. Maine drops to 7-6 on the year after falling to Fordham on Saturday.
Eboni Williams, who got into foul trouble early, posted her second double-double of the year with 11 points and 10 rebounds in just 15 minutes on the floor. She was 3-of-5 from the field and 5-of-7 from the free throw line. Shelbie Davenport led the Mocs with 13 points and three assists. She was 5-of-8 from the field with a 3-pointer and hit two clutch free throws down the stretch.
“Everybody contributed,” Chattanooga head coach Katie Burrows said. “She got in foul trouble late, but Eboni [Williams]. That kid can motor. When she starts to figure out her body even a little better, she will be more effective because I will be able to leave her out there a little bit longer. To not even play half the game and get a double-double is impressive.”
Chattanooga shot 48 percent for the game and was 14-of-26 (53.8%) in the second half. UTC was 6-of-15 from the 3-point line and 12-of-17 from the charity stripe for the game. Maine shot 33.8 percent with a game-low 22.2 (4-18) in the fourth quarter.
The Mocs got off to a 7-0 start causing Maine to call a quick timeout at the start. UTC was 3-of-3 from the field with buckets from Lakelyn Bouldin, Rochelle Lee and a 3-pointer from Brooke Burns. Meanwhile, the Mocs forced a turnover and the Black Bears were 0-for-3 in the stretch.
However, back-to-back 3-pointers from Maine out of the break made it a 7-6 game just moments later. Chattanooga would hold off the Maine effort and stayed out front 14-12 at the end of the first quarter. The Mocs kept the edge in the second quarter to lead 29-26 at halftime behind eight points from Williams in the period.
Bouldin drained a 3-pointer to start the half and stretched the Mocs lead to its largest of the game at that point, 32-26.
The Black Bears, however, responded with five points to cut the lead to 32-31. The Mocs held on to the lead for most of the third, but Maine put together an 8-0 run to get out front 44-39 with 1:50 to play in the frame.
Chattanooga closed out the third on a 6-1 run to tie the score 45-45 on a layup from Abbey Cornelius in the last minute.
The lead changed four times in the final quarter and was tied three times before Shelbie Davenport drained a 3-pointer to put the Mocs ahead 55-54 with 3:59 to play. That was the start of a 10-0 Mocs run. Mya Long capped it off with a short jumper in the lane to give UTC its largest lead of the game, 62-54, with 1:57 on the clock.
Maine drew to within three points, 62-59, with 1:09 to play, but Burns iced the game with 27 seconds remaining with a pair of free throws.
"On the defensive end, we stopped their key players as best we could,” Burrows said. “22 [Millan] is a tough player and she was a key focus and she killed us today, be we took care of business with everyone else."
Blanca Millan led all scorers with 25 points. She was 10-of-26 from the field, 3-of-5 from the free throw line and had seven rebounds and four steals. Tanesha Sutton was 5-of-6 from the charity stripe and contributed 17 points for the Black Bears. She had a double-double with 11 rebounds and had three assists. Dor Saar had a game-high six assists for Maine and played all 40 minutes.
Maine edged the Mocs in the paint 32-28 and had 11 points on 13 UTC miscues while giving up nine points on nine turnovers of their own. Chattanooga’s bench, led by Davenport and Williams, outscored Maine’s 37-9.
The win snaps an eight-game losing streak for the Mocs. Chattanooga will begin Southern Conference play at home Saturday, January 12 against East Tennessee State at the Roundhouse. Tickets are available online now at GoMocs.com for the remainder of the season as the Mocs make a push for another SoCon title and its first for Burrows as head coach.