Mocs Tournament Run Ends with Loss to Furman

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga found itself on the short end of a 58-40 decision against Furman in the quarterfinal round of the 2021 Ingles Southern Conference Women’s Basketball Championship presented by General Shale Brick at Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville.

Bria Dial, playing her final game for the Mocs, led the way with 12 points and junior Eboni Williams added 11 points along with a team-high eight rebounds and four steals. Abbey Cornelius tallied four blocked shots along with five points and six rebounds.

The Mocs’ 40 points was a season low and the fewest since scoring 38 against N.C. State in 2019. From the field Chattanooga struggled, making just 17-of-55 (30.9%) and was just 1-of-18 from the 3-point line.

UTC got out to a 4-0 start before the Paladins went on a 10-0 run to take the lead for good. Furman led 13-6 at the end of the opening frame and reeled off the first nine to get out front 22-6 with six minutes remaining in the second period. Chattanooga struck back, cutting the lead to 22-13 at the half after holding the Paladins scoreless the rest of the quarter.

In the third, the teams traded buckets and the Mocs shaved two points off Furman’s lead, outscoring the Paladins 14-12 in the frame. Chattanooga got scoring from Abbey Cornelius and Dial to make it a 25-18 game less than two minutes in, but the Paladins scored the next five to push the lead back to double digits.

Four minutes later, Williams scored all seven of Chattanooga’s points cutting the lead back to seven at 32-25 with 1:30 to go in the quarter.

Dial scored seven of her team-high points in the fourth period but it wouldn’t be enough to counter the 24 points Furman put up with half coming from center Celena Taborn.

Tate Walters hit the Mocs hard early, leading all scorers with 18 points and Tierra Hodges recorded a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds. Taborn was the third Paladin in double digits with 14. Furman shot 46.8 percent from the floor and was 7-of-13 from the arc.

Chattanooga had a season-low 10 turnovers, giving up seven points to the Paladins while edging Furman 28-26 in the paint. Furman outrebounded the Mocs 41-25 and UTC had 10 points on 11 offensive boards.

The Mocs close the season at 14-10 overall and the Paladins move to 11-13 and will take on No. 2 Mercer in the second game of the semifinal round Friday afternoon.

It was also the last game for senior Liz Wood who began her career with the Mocs as a walk-on her sophomore year and later earned a scholarship. She played the final minutes.