The Chattanooga Mocs fought off a late game rally by Tennessee State to take home a 63-57 win over the Tigers Wednesday night at the Gentry Center.
“I’m super proud of our girls,” head coach Katie Burrows said on the radio following the game. “I am really proud of our fight. We finished strong when we needed to. We got big boards when we needed to. We shot almost 80 percent from the free throw line and made eight threes.”
Chattanooga was 18-of-47 from the field but shot 50 percent in the second quarter to take the lead and 60 percent in the fourth to hold on to it. It was free throws in the fourth that was the difference. UTC was 13-of-14 from the line with Dena Jarrells making all six of her attempts.
Four Mocs scored in double figures led by Jarrells’ 14 points and Abbey Cornelius’ first double-double of the season with 13 points and a game-high 16 rebounds. Destiny McClendon added 12 points and Addie Grace Porter chipped in 10. Karsen Murphy added eight points and a career-best 10 rebounds.
Porter led the Mocs on a second-quarter 11-0 run with eight of her points. Cornelius gave the Mocs their first lead on a pair of free throws with 4:55 remaining in the half. TSU’s Saniah Parker regained the lead for her team but Porter let loose her first 3-point attempt of the game, sparking the run and the Mocs never relinquished the lead.
Tennessee State committed a turnover putting the ball back in the Cornelius’ hands and she stretched the lead to 26-22 at the 3:19 mark. A pair of turnovers that included a steal by the Jarrells led to Porter’s second 3-pointer and a seven-point lead, 29-22, with 2:56 on the clock.
Cornelius blocked the Tigers’ next attempt and grabbed the rebound. On the other end, Karsen Murphy drained a 3-pointer from the corner to put the Mocs up 32-22 for its largest lead of the game at that point. Chattanooga led 34-24 at the break.
In the third quarter with 4:47 to go in the frame, Murphy hit a layup to give Chattanooga a 44-30 lead, its largest of the game. That, however, would be the last points UTC would score until the McClendon’s drive in the paint, snapped a 14-0 run by TSU at the 7:53 mark of the fourth quarter.
The Tigers forced 10 turnovers in the run that lasted 6:54 with six steals and saw scoring from six different players.
“Tennessee State is going to run and catch up to you when they are on defense,” Burrows said.
Chattanooga scored the next six points and held off the Tigers who got to within one point with 52 seconds to play. UTC connected on seven free throws after that to hold on for the win.
Jarrells, Porter and McClendon each had a pair of 3-pointers and the Mocs were 8-of-23 from the arc. From the free throw line, UTC shot 79.2 percent (19-of-24) and edged the Tigers 40-39 on the boards.
Tennessee State’s Tatyana Davis led all scorers with 20 points and Parker was the only other Tiger in double digits with 11 points. Dominique Claytor grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds to go along with seven points and seven steals.
Chattanooga returns to the McKenzie Arena for a Friday night matchup against Murray State. The game is set to tip off at 7:00 p.m. The game will be aired live on WFLI 97.7 FM or 1050 AM.