The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga claimed its 16th Southern Conference Tournament championship with a 61-56 overtime win against ETSU in a game played at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville, NC. The victory is the school's third in-a-row and gives UTC the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
photo by Dennis Norwood
ASHEVILLE, N.C. --- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s basketball team claimed a 61-56 overtime win in the Southern Conference Tournament final against ETSU for its 16th SoCon Tournament crown Sunday afternoon at the U.S. Cellular Center.
Chattanooga squandered a 24-point second half lead and the Bucs shot 46.7 percent from the field in the second frame to tie it up 51-51 at the end of regulation.
Chattanooga was just 6-of-20 in the second half and 3-of-5 from the free throw line.
In overtime, Chattanooga went on a 7-0 run over the first three minutes and built up a 58-51 lead with two minutes to play. ETSU scored just five points in the extra period getting points from its three top scorers Tianna Tarter, Destiny Mitchell and Serena Clark.
Sophomore Chelsey Shumpert (Paducah, Ky.) scored a game-high 26 points, topping her career-best by four points and was the only UTC player in double figures. She was 10-of-18 from the field and hit a trio of 3-pointers. Senior Ka’Vonne Towns (Lilburn, Ga.) had nine points, four rebounds and four steals while freshman Keiana Gilbert (Columbia, Tenn.) also dropped in nine points with five rebounds and four assists. Sophomore Jasmine Joyner had a team-best nine rebounds and four blocked shots
The first half was dominated by the Mocs who shot 54.2 percent (13-of-24) and shot 50 percent behind the 3-point line making 5-of-10. UTC saw its opening 6-2 lead go away on an 8-0 run by the Bucs who took a 10-6 lead at the 13:24 mark.
Chattanooga would turn the tables and over the next five minutes outscored the Bucs 11-5, retaking the lead, 17-15, on a 3-pointer from sophomore Moses Johnson (Atlanta, Ga.) with 8:19 to go in the period and never trailed again. The Mocs went on an 18-4 run over the rest of the half and led 35-19 at intermission.
The second half was all ETSU. The Mocs opened the half with eight straight points for its largest lead of the game, 43-19 with 17:23 to play.
After a timeout called by ETSU, the Bucs allowed UTC just eight points the remaineder of the game and shot 54.2 percent from the field to tie it up 51-51 at the end of regulation. Destiny Mitchell scored 10 points in the middle frame and Shamauria Bridges added seven from the floor.
The win was the 25th straight for Chattanooga and ninth consecutive SoCon Tournament win as the Mocs won their third straight SoCon tournament crown. The No. 17 Mocs earned the automatic NCAA bid for the SoCon and will await its fate with the rest of Mocs Nation on Monday, March 16.
Chattanooga is 29-3 overall and ETSU falls to 21-11. The win was Chattanooga’s sixth straight against the Bucs who rejoined the SoCon this season after a nine-year hiatus.
Southern Conference commissioner John Iamarino presents the tournament's Most Outstanding Player award to UTC's Jasmine Joyner.
photo by Dennis Norwood