UTC Women drop SoCon tilt at Mercer, 65-58
MACON, Ga. (GoMocs.com) -- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team dropped its first game in Southern Conference play Thursday night with a 65-58 loss at Mercer. The Mocs are now 8-11 overall and 3-1 in league action. The Bears improve to 12-7 on the year and remain undefeated against the SoCon at 4-0.
Mya Long was one point shy of her career-high and had a season-best 14 points and was the only Chattanooga player in double figures. She was 5-of-13 from the floor with a 3-pointer, three assists and a career-high four steals. Arianne Whitaker just missed a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds and added a game-high six blocked shots. Bria Dial drained a pair of 3-pointers for the Mocs and finished with eight points, three boards and two steals.
"We were quite stagnant in the first half," Chattanooga head coach Katie Burrows said. "We kept telling them we have to move the ball and we have to push tempo. That is what we have been so successful with."
Mercer led 36-29 at the break and pushed its lead into double figures in the third quarter, leading by as much as 45-33 at the 6:43 mark of the period. Chattanooga cut into the lead with an 8-1 run to make it 48-44 with 1:27 to play in in the frame.
UTC grabbed the first five points of the fourth quarter to cut Mercer's lead to 52-50, but the Bears went on an 8-0 run to push its lead to 60-50 with 6:01 to play in the game. The Mocs responded with the next six points and it would get close again, 60-56 with 2:11 on the clock.
Chattanooga would only get one more shot the rest of the way, however, and put Mercer on the line twice in the final seconds.
After falling behind by seven at the half, the Mocs matched the Bears for points the final two quarters. Chattanooga was 21-of-60 in the game with five 3-pointers and shot 11-of-20 from the free throw line. Mercer made just one from long range, but was 28-of-65 from the field and made 8-of-10 from the charity stripe. The Bears outrebounded the Mocs 50-31, grabbing 17 offensive boards for 13 second chance points compared to UTC's nine points on nine offensive rebounds.
Chattanooga converted 12 turnovers into 11 points and its bench outscored the Bears' 39-6. UTC had a season-low six turnovers, dished out nine assists and had eight blocked shots and eight steals.
"It's very frustrating to look at the stat sheet," Burrows said. "We only had six turnovers, but we only had nine assists. We were 11-for-20 from the foul line. We had been shooting foul shots great. We had been shooting them really well. Then we come out shoot 11-20.
"They were only 8-10. They only took 10 to our 20. We got to the line. We just weren't hitting."
Shannon Titus led three Mercer players in double figures with a game-high 24 points. She was 9-of-17 from the floor and 6-for-6 from the free throw line and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. KeKe Calloway had 14 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Amanda Thompson had a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 16 rebounds.
Chattanooga remains on the road and will face Samford Saturday afternoon at the Pete Hanna Center. The game is set to tip at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time. Follow all the action live and online at GoMocs.com.