The Chattanooga Lady Mocs started off the current basketball season with three straight losses, including a 60-30 whipping at Green Bay on November 11.
Things had gotten better since that time as the Lady Mocs came into Sunday afternoon’s home game with Virginia Tech on a six-game winning streak, but the train jumped off the track, the local girls had one of their poorest performances of the season as the Hokies headed back home with an impressive 64-44 victory.
Virginia Tech is now 9-2 overall with its fourth straight win while the Lady Mocs are now 6-3 overall.
UTC coach Jim Foster has had great success at the college level with lots of big wins at Vanderbilt and Ohio State before coming to Chattanooga five years ago.
Needless to say, he wasn’t a very happy fellow when the final horn sounded.
“Until we start holding ourselves accountable and quit making excuses…” he began his post-game comments.
“It all starts with them. We probably put at least 20 hours into our scouting report for Virginia Tech, but it didn’t seem to help much. We aren’t talented enough to outscore people, so we have to play with intensity and heart. We didn’t do that today.
“We have to show up every day with the purpose of getting better, so we need to stop making excuses. People make too many excuses for kids these days, but they just need to be more accountable,” Foster concluded.
The Lady Mocs never led in this game.
Regan Magarity sank two free throws at the 6:43 mark of the first quarter to give the Hokies a 2-0 lead. Keiana Gilbert’s layup 14 seconds later knotted the score at 2-2, but Kendyl Brooks nailed a 3 with 6:12 left and Virginia Tech never trailed again.
Brooke Burns sank the second of two free throws with 2:20 showing to get Chattanooga within 7-5, but Virginia Tech then scored the final five points for a 12-5 lead when the first quarter ended.
Lakelyn Bouldin hit a reverse layup and Jacobi Lynn canned a 3 from the wing in the first minute of the second quarter as the Lady Mocs drew within two at 12-10, but just as quickly, Virginia Tech scored eight unanswered points and the difference began to grow.
Magarity sank a short jumper from the baseline with a second to go as the Hokies took a 32-19 lead into the dressing room at intermission.
The second half was even worse than the first.
The Hokies started out the third stanza on a 17-5 run and had its biggest lead of the game at 49-24 with 54 seconds left following the first of two free throws by Chanette Hicks.
The Lady Mocs then scored six points in the final minute – all on free throws – to close the quarter trailing, 51-30.
The Lady Mocs actually outscored their ACC opponents by a 14-13 margin in the final 10 minutes, but the lead was way too big to overcome as the Hokies breezed to victory.
Magarity and Brooks both finished with 14 points while Hicks was next with 13. Taylor Emory was next with nine.
Bouldin was the only Chattanooga player in double figures as she finished with 15. Gilbert was next with nine while sister Aryanna Gilbert added eight points in a losing effort.
Virginia Tech sank 24 of 55 field goal attempts for 43.6 percent and five of 19 from long range for 26.3 percent. Chattanooga was 15 of 48 from the field for the game for 31.3 percent, but were only two of 13 in the third quarter and five of 11 in the fourth.
The Lady Mocs were equally as cold from long range as they sank just five of 17 for 29.4 percent.
Virginia Tech also won the rebound battle by a 41-30 margin. Magarity had 10 and teammate Michelle Berry nine for the Hokies while Arianne Whitaker was tops for Chattanooga with eight. Keiana Gilbert grabbed seven.
The Lady Mocs will be at home next Sunday, Dec. 17 for their next game against Florida Gulf Coast while Virginia Tech will be at Monmouth on Tuesday for its next game.
VIRGINIA TECH 12 20 19 13 -- 64
CHATTANOOGA 5 14 11 14 -- 44
VIRGINIA TECH (64) – Magarity 14, Berry 7, Emery 9, K. Brooks 14, Hicks 13, Sheppard, Kinder 2, Camp 5, E. Brooks.
CHATTANOOGA (44) – Whitaker, Melton 3, K. Gilbert 9, Bouldin 15, A. Gilbert 8, Lynn 5, Dial, Davenport 2, Burns 2, Lee.
3-POINT GOALS: Virginia Tech 5-19 (Magarity 0-2, Berry 0-2, Emery 1-2, Brooks 4-9, Sheppard 0-2, Camp 0-2); Chattanooga 5-17 (Melton 1-2, K. Gilbert 1-4, Bouldin 2-6, A. Gilbert 0-2, Lynn 1-1, Dial 0-1, Burns 0-1).
REBOUNDS: Virginia Tech 41 (Magarity 10, Berry 9); Chattanooga 30 (Whitaker 8, K. Gilbert 7).
ASSISTS: Virginia Tech 13, Chattanooga 7.
(email John Hunt at email@example.com)