he University of Tennessee at Chattanooga fell 50-42 at Mercer Thursday night in Southern Conference women’s basketball action. The Mocs fall to 8-7 overall and 3-3 in SoCon play while the Bears improve to 11-4 and 5-1 against the league, remaining tied for first in the standings.
“Bottom line, offensive rebounds,” head coach Katie Burrows stated. “We gave up offensive rebounds. We told them that’s what the key to this game is and we still didn’t get it done.”
Mercer outrebounded the Mocs 46-36 and scored 12 points on 18 offensive boards.
Trailing 37-31 heading into the fourth quarter, the Mocs used a 9-1 to start the final frame to take its first lead of the game since late in the second, 41-40 with 2:52 remaining in the game.
Amaria Pugh drove the lane for the basket and foul, scoring the first Mocs points of the fourth quarter but missed the ensuing free throw. After Mercer went 1-of-2 from the line on the other end, UTC came back and Morgan Hill battled for a layup in the paint to cut the Bears’ lead to 38-35 with 7:32 on the clock.
Mercer went 0-for-5 from the field over the next 2:20 with just one offensive board before Eboni Williams connected on her second bucket of the game on a fast break. She converted a 3-point play on the Mocs next possession to put UTC up front 42-41 with 4:03 on the clock.
Jada Lewis hit a short jumper to tie it up 40-40 less than a minute later and Amaria Pugh made the first of her two free throws to give UTC its final lead, 41-40 with 2:52 on the clock.
Mercer used a 10-1 run the rest of the way to secure the win.
Kallie Searcy led the Mocs with eight points making 4-of-5 for a career-high.
“She did some good things,” Burrows said. “I was very proud of Kallie. I was kind of disappointed that she didn’t take that pick and pop 15-footer. Normally I would tell her that is not a good shot, but you’re the one that is scoring, go ahead and take it. She has to learn when and when not to.”
Williams, Pugh and Dena Jarells each chipped in seven points and Abbey Cornelius had a team-best 10 rebounds and five assists with five points. Sigrun Olafsdottir was 2-of-4 from the 3-point line, making the Mocs only two shots from range.
Chattanooga’s 17 turnovers resulted in 14 points for Mercer while UTC had just three points of 10 Bear miscues. The Mocs edged Mercer 26-22 in the paint and had 17 bench points to none for the Bears.
42 points in the fewest for UTC this season while 50 points by Mercer are the fewest allowed this season by the Mocs.
Despite shooting just 14.3 percent to start the game, the Mocs led Mercer 6-5 at the end of the opening period. Chattanooga was 17-of-50 for the game from the field, 2-of-14 from the 3-point line and 6-of-9 from the free throw line.
Mercer was paced by Jaron Dougherty with a game-high 21 points and 16 rebounds. Jada Lewis added 13 and Amoria Neal-Tysor chipped in 11. Shannon Titus was held to just 3-points but pulled down 11 rebounds. The Bears were 20-of-66 from the field and had just two 3-pointers while shooting 8-of-12 from the charity stripe.
The same two teams will tip it up Saturday afternoon at Hawkins Arena to wrap up the series.