Chattanooga put together an 8-0 run late in the fourth quarter and outscored Kennesaw State by five in the second half, but it would be enough as the Mocs fell 75-68 at Kennesaw State Tuesday night.
“We finally connected,” Chattanooga head coach Katie Burrows said after the game. “When we are in the half court defense we play really well.
“I think they had 11 assists in the first half and only had 13 total, so we did a good job of taking care of their offense.”
Chattanooga (1-4) trailed the Owls 49-31 early in the third quarter, but the Mocs put together an 18-4 run to cut the KSU (2-3) lead to four, 51-49 with 2:47 to play in the frame.
Addie Grace Porter started off the run with an old-fashioned 3-point play to make it 49-34, but the Owls would get two points back on a layup on the other end. Destiny McClendon connected on a pair of free throws for the first of the next 12 points for the Mocs.
Dena Jarrells drained a pair of 3-pointers to get UTC within single digits at 51-42. Brooke Hampel grabbed a rebound on a missed KSU layup and fed Sigrun Olafsdottir on the fast break to make it a seven-point game with 4:04 to play in the third.
After another defensive board by the Mocs, Abbey Cornelius hit a short jumper to get UTC to within five at the 3:13 mark. A pair of free throws by Kennesaw State pushed the lead back out to seven points, but Jarrells nailed her third long-range bomb of the quarter to put the Mocs within four points, their closest, with 2:47 to play.
Kennesaw State closed out the quarter with six straight points to get back out front by 10 points heading into the fourth quarter.
The Mocs cut the lead to single digits three times in the final quarter but only got as close as seven points in the final minutes on an 8-0 run to close the game.
Cornelius led the Mocs with a game-high 21 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter alone, and was one of four Chattanooga players in double figures. McClendon added 13 points, Jarrells was 4-of-8 from beyond the arc for 12 and Porter chipped in 10.
Cornelius added a season-high four blocked shots in the contest and Jarrells dished out seven assists.
The Mocs shot 42 percent (25-59) and was a scorching 10-of-23 from the 3-point line while making 8-of-11 (73%) from the free throw line. Jarrells had four from range while McClendon added three of her own.
Kennesaw State was led by Alexis Poole with 16 points and nine rebounds with Jah’Che Whitfield scoring 15. The Owls scored 25 points on 24 Chattanooga miscues and outscored UTC in the paint 38-20.
The Mocs return home to host Georgia State Saturday afternoon in the first game of a double-header with the men’s team. The women’s game will tip at 1:30 p.m. followed by the men’s matchup with former Southern Conference foe College of Charleston.