The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga fell 52-46 at Furman Sunday afternoon in Southern Conference women’s basketball action, snapping the Mocs five-game win streak. UTC moves to 7-5 overall and 2-1 in league play while Furman improves to 5-7 on the year and earn its first SoCon victory to improve to 1-2.
The Mocs got out to a quick start leading 11-4 in the opening frame, but the Paladins struck back, outscoring UTC 9-2 over the final 2:19 of the period to tie it up 13-13 after the first.
“The first couple of possessions we did a good job,” Chattanooga head coach Katie Burrows said. “Then all of a sudden we decided to start playing fast, not spreading the floor, forcing stuff. “They made an adjustment where they were going to pack it in the paint a little bit better on us today. We weren’t knocking down outside shots. They were also rotating better so we started trying to force things inside.”
The second quarter saw Furman push its lead to 10 points, 33-23, with the help of seven free throws and a trio of 3-pointers. UTC shot 50 percent in the period making 4-of-8 and was 2-of-2 from the charity stripe.
In the second half, the Mocs outscored the Paladins 23-19 and got as close as two points in the final minute, but the hole was dug early.
“The damage was done. We were down 10,” Burrows said. “We outrebounded them like crazy in the second half. But where was that to begin with? That’s the whole point. You have to play four quarters. We’ve been doing that the last five games and all of a sudden today we just struggled.”
Abbey Cornelius led the Mocs with 13 points and added seven rebounds. Eboni Williams just missed a double-double with 12 points and nine boards and had a team-best three steals. Bria Dial added 11 points in the effort and collected five rebounds, four on the offensive end.
The third quarter started with Chattanooga scoring on back-to-back Furman turnovers, cutting the Paladin lead to 33-27 with just one minute gone in the quarter. The Mocs edged Furman 10-9 in the frame led by Cornelius’ four points.
In the fourth Dial connected on her lone 3-pointer of the game, cutting the lead to 42-36 at the 9:38 mark. Cornelius followed that with a jumper and the Mocs’ got to within four points 30 seconds later.
The Mocs, who had just four free throws combined in the first three quarters, made four straight to cut the lead to 46-44 with 4:39 to play. However, the Mocs shooting went cold and the only points the rest of the way for UTC came on a steal by Dial who finished the play with a layup.
The win for the Paladins snapped a three-game losing streak to the Mocs. Tierra Hodges led all scorers with 16 points, eight rebounds and dished out a game-high four assists and four steals. Tate Walters added 12 points and Tyah Hunter was the third Paladin in double figures with 10 points.
Chattanooga was 18-of-55 in the game with just two 3-pointers and was 8-of-10 from the free throw line. The Mocs had 11 steals was the second most for UTC this season. The Mocs were about to convert the Paladin’s 19 turnovers into 20 points.
Furman edged the Mocs 26-20 in the paint and scored 24 points off 24 Chattanooga miscues. They were 19-of-51 from the floor with four 3-pointers and made 10-of-11 free throws and recorded 14 assists.
The Mocs return home to host Samford Thursday and Saturday this week in a revamped Southern Conference women’s basketball schedule. Thursday’s game will tip at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at the Roundhouse.