The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga fell 58-50 to UNCG in Southern Conference women’s basketball action Sunday afternoon on the Mocs’ Senior Day.
Chattanooga falls to 13-9 overall and 8-5 in league play while the Spartans move to 7-15 on the year and 5-8 against the SoCon.
The Spartans led the Mocs for most of the game with UTC able to get out front in the second and third quarters and tie it up in the fourth.
“You try to anticipate the adjustments that they might make,” Chattanooga head coach Katie Burrows said. “There was a level of physical play that they were initially allowing, and that we didn’t step up to, then all of a sudden, it changed. And we didn’t adjust to that either.”
UNCG came out quick and grabbed the early lead and led by as much as five points four times in the opening quarter. However, the Mocs responded in the second, after getting down 2-15 midway though the period with an 7-0 run to tie it up 22-22 on a layup from Sigrun Olafsdottir.
The Mocs tied it up a second time moments later on a layup from Brooke Hampel and took the lead as she converted the three-point play. A pair of free throws from Abbey Cornelius gave the Mocs a 27-24 lead with 2:28 to go in the first half, and that would be the Mocs’ biggest lead of the game.
UNCG retook the lead and led 30-28 at the half.
The Mocs battled back to start the third quarter, leading 32-30 on a pair of free throws from Cornelius. The Spartans were able to force turnovers and draw fouls over the next four minutes but only connected on four of eight free throws in the stretch for a narrow 34-32 advantage.
Eboni Williams scored the next four points for the Mocs, give UTC the lead again at 36-34 with 3:17 to play in the third.
UNCG went on to score the next seven points to take the lead into the fourth.
In the final frame, Chattanooga knotted it up twice but Pernilla Sorensen scored the next 11 points for the Spartans including three 3-pointers to make give her team a 54-43 advantage with 3:32 remaining.
“And the one kid, the one kid that we knew could hurt us for three, she was 5-for-5. 1-for-1, 2-for-2, I can live with. Five I can’t live with. So the one kid we needed to worry about from three. And we did not focus on getting to her and forcing the dribble for her. She did a good job under pressure knocking them down.”
The Mocs got only as close as six, 54-48, in the final minutes.
Cornelius led Chattanooga with 17 points and 16 rebounds, her fifth double-double of the year. Hampel was one point shy of her season-high with 11 points of 4-of-6 from the field.
Chattanooga was 18-of-59 on the day and just 3-of-20 from the 3-point line while shooting 91.7 percent (11-12) from the free throw line. The Mocs outscored UNCG 26-16 in the paint while the Spartans scored 16 points off 15 Chattanooga miscues and 11 points on 16 offensive rebounds.
Sorensen was 5-of-5 from the 3-point line with 17 points and Jaylynn Brown led all scorers with 22 points. Khalis Cain had a team-best 13 rebounds.
Williams was in foul trouble early and scored eight points in almost 19 minutes on the floor.
An early bright spot in the game was former walk-on Liz Wood getting the start on her Senior Day. Following a missed shot by the Mocs, the Spartans grabbed the rebound and Wood jumped into the middle of the pass for the steal. She was on the ground with the ball and kicked it out to Williams who sent it back a moment later. Wood lined up her shot and drained a 3-pointer for the Mocs’ first points of the game.
Following the game, Wood along with fellow seniors Bria Dial and team manager Monet Wood, were honored by the team on their final game at the McKenzie Arena.
UTC heads to ETSU for a Thursday matchup to close out the season. The Mocs are currently third in the SoCon standings behind Samford and Mercer who will face off on Thursday as well. UTC is just one game ahead of Wofford. The Terriers take on Furman Thursday.