Chattanooga freshman Anna Walker is quickly putting her mark on the Mocs’ program, banking in a shot as time ran out to give UTC a 65-64 win over Austin Peay at the Winfield Dunn Center Tuesday night.
“I am proud of several people for stepping up,” Chattanooga head coach Katie Burrows said. “That group that ended the first quarter got us back in it. Kallie [Searcy] did some good things, was in good position defensively, got some good rebounds, set some good screens and got to the foul line. There are so many people I could pick out individually, but that was definitely a team win.”
The Mocs trailed by 20 with 2:54 remaining in the third quarter. With Austin Peay leading 53-33. Dena Jarrells hit a jumper to spark a 13-3 run to close out the period and cut the lead to 56-46 heading into the fourth.
UTC continued to push its scoring advantage into the fourth, outdueling the Govs 15-4 to take the lead, 61-60 with 1:40 to play. UTC’s largest lead of the game was a 3-pointer made by Eboni Williams to start the game.
Austin Peay retook the lead and a missed shot by the Mocs with 49 seconds to play gave the Govs the ball. However, as Austin Peay headed down the court, its head coach was called for a technical for running out onto the court.
Jarrells toed the line and dropped in both free throws to put UTC back on top 63-62. A Mocs turnover gave the ball back to APSU and the lead on a layup by Kemia Ward with 6.2 seconds to play.
Burrows called a quick timeout to advance the ball to half court and set up the final play. Dena Jarrells took the pass and made an arcing path down the left side, dumping the ball off underneath the basket to Walker who trailed down the lane. Walker’s quick release went over the front of the rim and banked of the board as time expired.
“She just always manages to find the right spot,” Burrows said. “She has ice in her veins. Anna doesn’t get frazzled. It was a total team effort in that comeback.”
Chattanooga had four players in double figures led by Williams with 14, six rebounds and a game-high four blocked shots. Jarrells and Walker added 13 apiece and Jarrells dished out five assists. Bria Dial chipped in 10 and Abbey Cornelius and Amaria Pugh had a game-high seven rebounds apiece. Austin Peay got out to a double-digit advantage in the first quarter, leading 23-12 after 10 minutes. The Govs expanded its lead in the second, leading 36-16 with 3:35 to play in the first half.
The tide would turn, however, in the Mocs favor with UTC holding the Govs scoreless the rest of the period and dropping in 11 straight points to trail by nine, 36-27, at the half.
The third quarter saw Austin Peay put together a 9-0 run to regain lost ground, leading by 18 less than two minutes into the period. The Govs pushed its lead to 20, 53-33, on a shot from Kemia Ward with 3:07 remaining.
Ward was fouled on the play but missed her and-1 attempt and Pugh’s defensive board resulted in a bucket from Jarrells, that led to 11 straight points to make it a 12 point game with 1:41 left in the period. Austin Peay’s lead was down to 56-46 heading into the final quarter and the Mocs had momentum on their side.
The Mocs only allowed the Govs eight points in the final quarter, outscoring them 19-8 in the frame.
UTC shot just better than 50 percent in the second half, 13-of-25 and made four of its six 3-pointers. The Mocs were 23-of-50 (46%) for the game and 6-of-18 from the 3-point line.
At the free throw line, the Mocs shot just 65 percent making 13-of-20.
“We made them when it counted,” Burrows said. “It could have lost the game for us again, with the turnovers. We still have to clean that up. I am just encouraged in the fight and I think we will be alright.”
Chattanooga had 23 turnovers resulting in 22 points for Austin Peay, but UTC managed 27 points on 25 miscues by the Governors.
Brandi Ferby led all scorers with 16 points making all three of her long range shots and connecting on her five free throw attempts. Her twin Brianah added 14 points and was one of three Austin Peay players with a team-high six rebounds. Shay-Lee Kirby, with a quick release, was 4-of-5 from the arc and had 12 points. The Govs shot 39.0 percent (23-59) for the game with 10 3-pointers.
The Mocs return home to take on Eastern Kentucky late Friday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. at the Roundhouse. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+ and Larry Ward will have the call on WFLI 1070 AM/97.7 FM.