Chattanooga senior Bria Dial and junior Abbey Cornelius combined for a lethal effect on both sides of the ball to lead the Mocs to a 57-41 win over UNCG in Southern Conference women’s basketball action Friday night at The McKenzie Arena.
Dial led all scorers with 16 points making four from distance and blocked three Spartan shots while Cornelius posted her fourth double-double of the year with 11 points and 11 rebounds and added a pair of blocks.
Chattanooga held UNCG to 28.6 percent shooting from the field and didn’t allow a single 3-pointer to drop in 14 tries. CeCe Crudup was the only Spartan in double figures with a team-high 13 points and had a game-high five steals. Amber Redman added nine points and Jaylynn Brown chipped in eight off the bench.
“We played a great game defensively,” Chattanooga head coach Katie Burrows said. “We did a better job of taking care of the ball than it shows. When you try to get some folks some minutes in there at the end of the game and they continue to press, things like that are going to get a little skewed.”
Chattanooga led wire-to-wire and by as much as 24 points in the fourth quarter.
After scoring the first eight points, the Mocs added another eight that included back-to-back 3-pointers from Dial, for a 16-3 run in the opening period. The Spartans closed out the quarter with its own 8-2 run cutting UTC’s lead to 18-9.
The Mocs continued to lay it on the second quarter, outscoring UNCG 16-8 and stretching its lead to 34-17 at intermission with just seven turnovers.
In the third quarter, UNCG cut the Mocs’ lead to 13 twice before Chattanooga got out of a three-minute scoring slump with a 7-0 run. Cornelius started it off with a short jumper from outside the paint to make it 40-25 with 3:03 to play in the period.
Several plays later, Cornelius grabbed one of her five offensive rebounds and dished it to Morgan Hill who drew a foul. She connected on both of her free throws to put the Mocs up 42-25 just a minute later. Dial, at the 1:37 mark of the third, sized up her shot and dropped in her third 3-pointer of the game to cap the run and put UTC up 45-25.
Dial’s fourth 3-pointer gave the Mocs their largest lead of the game, its first 24-point advantage, with 6:50 remaining in the game. UTC shot 57 percent in the final quarter and 43.1 percent for the game while making 7-of-23 from beyond the arc.
The Spartans edged the Mocs 28-24 in the paint and had 12 points off 23 Chattanooga turnovers with 10 of those points coming in the fourth quarter on 13 miscues.
UNCG turned up the heat in the fourth when the Mocs inserted its bench late in the game.
“I’ll tell you this, even though we turned the ball over a great deal in the last few minutes, I felt like when we got them set back up in their offense, we stopped them,” Burrows said. “I was pleased the fight was still there.”
The Mocs had 12 offensive boards and converted that into 13 second chance points while the Spartans had eight points on 10 rebounds on the offensive end.
Led by freshman Anna Walker and redshirt sophomore Morgan Hill’s seven points each, the Mocs bench contributed 17 points. Eboni Williams had seven points as well with six rebounds and three assists.
Chattanooga moved ahead of Wofford into sole possession of third place with the win, improving to 8-4 in SoCon action and 13-8 overall while UNCG falls to 6-15 on the year and 4-8 against the league.
The two teams will return to the court Sunday afternoon with a 1 p.m. tip. Chattanooga will honor its seniors, team manager Monet Wood and guards Bria Dial and Liz Wood after the game.