The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga grabbed a 65-54 Southern Conference women’s basketball win over East Tennessee State Thursday night at Brooks Gym in the Mocs’ season finale.
Dena Jarrells recorded a career-high 17 points to lead all scorers. She was 5-of-9 from the field with three 3-pointers.
“She did a good job of scoring for us,” Chattanooga head coach Katie Burrows said. “She did a much better job defensively today. She did a good job of recognizing when the shooters were coming open.”
Bria Dial had 15 points with a trio of shots from long range and Abbey Cornelius just missed a third straight double-double with 10 points and a game-high tying eight rebounds.
“Bria struggled against Greensboro on Sunday,” Burrows said. “I think she was ticked off at herself for that. She came out here and took care of business.”
The Mocs improve to 14-9 overall and 9-5 in league play while the Bucs, who have one game remaining against Mercer on Saturday, fall to 3-14 on the year and 1-9 in SoCon play.
ETSU led the Mocs 17-14 at the end of the first led by 11 points from Carly Hooks who was 3-of-3 from the arc.
The Bucs took and 8-2 lead on Chattanooga less than three minutes into the game, but the Mocs put together a 12-0 run to retake the lead 14-8 with 2:53 remaining in the period on back-to-back 3-pointers from Dial.
However, ETSU responded with nine unanswered points to close out the opening frame to lead by three after the first 10 minutes.
In the second period, the Bucs stretched out its lead by as much as eight points, 23-15, on a layup from Kaia Upton with 6:34 to play in the half.
Jarrells made one of two free throws at the start of a 15-2 run by the Mocs who led 30-25 at the half. Sigrun Olafsdottir drained a 3-pointer at the 2:11 mark to tie the game 25-25 and then a steal turned into a foul as she was shooting and her free throws gave UTC a two-point lead and never trailed again.
The Mocs pushed its lead to double digits in the third and carried a 47-33 lead, its largest, into the final quarter. The Mocs started the fourth with nine straight points and grabbed its largest lead of the game at 56-33 a little more than two minutes into the period.
From there, the Bucs outscored the Mocs 21-9 behind a nine point effort from Abby Carrington who saw just 12 minutes of play.
“They had some kids who weren’t hitting, then they started hitting and we didn’t make that adjustment and get out and guard,” Burrows said. “The Carrington kid, No. 5, hit 3-for-4. She’s not played hardly at all this year and she didn’t have the stat line.”
The Mocs were 23-of-54 (42.6%) from the field and made seven from distance while making 12-of-18 from the free throw line.
Kallie Searcy posted career-highs in the game for rebounds, assists and steals.
Hooks led ETSU with 16 points. She was 3-of-5 from beyond the arc and had six rebounds. Jakhyia Davis had a game-high eight rebounds and Amaya Adams added six points
ETSU struggled in the middle two quarters combining for just 16 points on 6-of-27 shooting. The Bucs were much better in the first and fourth quarters making 6-of-15 in the first, with three 3s, and 8-of-18 (44.4%) in the fourth with four 3-pointers. They shot 33.3 percent (20-60) overall and had eight from the arc.
The Mocs scored 24 points off 21 turnovers by ETSU. Fifteen points, half of UTC’s points in the first half, came from 11 Buc miscues. ETSU had 13 points off the Mocs 16 turns in the game. UTC had just five turnovers in the second half.
Chattanooga edged the Bucs in the paint 26-24 and the ETSU bench scored 24 to the Mocs’ 23.
The teams were even on the boards with 37 each. UTC had 12 assists with Olafsdottir dishing four and Cornelius adding three. UTC had 11 steals, tied with second most this season, led by Kallie Searcy’s three.
Chattanooga wrapped up the No. 3 seed for the Southern Conference Tournament that tips off Thursday in Asheville. UTC will have to wait another day to find out its opponent. Furman beat Wofford tonight, but a win tomorrow for UNCG would give the Spartans the No. 5 seed and leave UTC and Furman to face off in the opening round.
The game was delayed more than 40 minutes due to COVID-19 concerns. The affected individual and close contacts were quarantined and the game tipped at 7:41 p.m.