UTC women use a big fourth quarter to win at Samford
The Chattanooga women’s basketball team shot 81.8 percent in the final quarter to grab a 73-63 win over Samford Saturday afternoon at the Pete Hanna Center in Southern Conference action. Chattanooga improves to 9-11 overall and 3-1 in conference play. The Bulldogs fall to 7-13 on the year and 2-3 against the SoCon.
“They couldn’t stay in front of us,” Chattanooga head coach Katie Burrows said of the Mocs’ fourth quarter performance. “We knew we could be aggressive in that way and letting it come to us. We were forcing things in the first half. We also pushed tempo a little better in the second half.”
Freshman Abbey Cornelius put up a perfect game, making 7-of-7 including all five of her attempts in the fourth quarter. She had a career-best 14 points for the Mocs, grabbed five rebounds and matched her season-best with four blocked shots.
"Abbey really did a great job of being able to guard on the perimeter and also being able to take it inside,” Burrows said. “She is just a force. She is just so disciplined in keeping her hands straight up. She was 7-for-7 from the field and those were not all layups.”
After trailing 35-28 at the half, the Mocs matched Samford 21-21 in the third quarter and headed into the final frame behind 56-49.
Samford started the final period with the ball, but after grabbing their own rebound on a missed shot, Eboni Williams forced the turnover and the Mocs raced down the court. Cornelius hit a layup, sparking a 12-1 run by Chattanooga, giving UTC a 61-47 lead with 4:06 to play. It would be UTC’s first advantage since midway through the first. Cornelius scored eight of her 10 fourth quarter points in the run, capping it off with a short jumper from the right side.
Williams scored all six of her points in the fourth quarter and had a team-high three steals along with three assists.
Natalie Armstong hit a layup to pull the Bulldogs back to within 61-59 with 4:37 to play, but the Mocs stretched the lead out to its largest of the game, 66-59 with 2:28 to play. Samford scored four of the next six points in the game in a 38 second span to make it 68-63 with 1:38 to play, but Chattanooga would score the final five points for the 10-point win.
Junior Lakelyn Bouldin led all scorers with 19 points. She was 8-of-9 on the day and perfect from long range, making all three attempts. She played all 40 minutes for just the second time this season.
“She couldn’t miss,” Burrows said of her leading scorer. “Her 19 points was a huge lift for us.”
Sophomore Brooke Burns was also nearly perfect from the field making 5-of-6 including a 3-pointer and was 3-of-4 from the line down the stretch. Sophomore Bria Dial also had 14 points for the Mocs, a career-high, and was 3-of-5 from long range.
Chattanooga shot 55.8 percent for the game, making 29-of-52 for its best shooting performance of the season. The Mocs were 8-of-16 from the 3-point line and 7-of-10 from the charity stripe. Samford outrebounded UTC 26-24 and Chattanooga’s six turnovers matched a season-low.
Samford got just two shots in the basket in the fourth and made three free throws for just seven points. The Bulldogs shot 44.7 percent for the game making 21-of-47 and was 8-of-20 from the 3-point line while making 13-of-14 free throws.
Shauntai Battle led the Bulldogs with 16 points making 5-of-9 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the charity stripe. Cassidy Williams was the only other Samford player in double figures with 13 points, making all four of her tries including three 3-pointers. Natalie Armstrong had eight points and a game-high nine rebounds along with three blocked shots and four turnovers. Ta’Naisha Hill added nine points and three assists while Katie Allen had eight points in five minutes on the floor.
Chattanooga returns home to host Western Carolina Thursday, January 31 at 5:30 p.m. in a double-header with the Mocs men’s team who will also host the Catamounts. Tickets are on sale online at GoMocs.com or at the McKenzie Arena box office. One ticket gets you in to both games.