Chattanooga’s Lady Mocs got off to a good start and had a six-point lead after the first quarter, but they couldn’t maintain that level of play and lost for the sixth straight game Monday night at McKenzie Arena.
The Belmont Lady Bruins improved to 6-3 with their second straight win as they pulled away in the second half for a comfortable 67-51 victory.
Chattanooga is now 4-8 overall with its sixth-straight defeat.
The Lady Mocs sank nine of 17 shots from the field in the opening 10 minutes and had a 20-14 lead when that first quarter ended.
A 14-3 run for the Lady Mocs from the 4:04 mark in the first to the 7:16 mark in the second allowed Chattanooga to take a 24-14 lead following a drive down the lane by Shelbie Davenport, but the Lady Bruins responded with a run of their own, outscoring the Lady Mocs by an 18-5 margin in the final seven minutes for a 32-29 lead at intermission.
The Lady Mocs got within three points one more time in the second half, but they never regained the upper hand as the shooting percentage continued to drop the rest of the game.
After that 9-17 start in the first, Chattanooga was four of 10 in the second for 40 percent before hitting only four of 13 in the third for 30.8 percent and two of 15 in the fourth stanza for a frigid 13.3 percent to finish the game at 34.5 percent on 19 of 55 from the field.
Meanwhile, Belmont did just the opposite and kept shooting better and better as the game progressed.
The Lady Bruins were 38.7 percent in the first half on 12 of 31, but sank seven of 13 in the third for 53.8 percent and eight of 13 in the fourth for 61.5 percent to finish the game at 47.4 percent after making 27 of 57 attempts.
Turnovers have been the Achilles heel for the Lady Mocs all season and that was the case Monday night.
Chattanooga had 10 in the first half and six in the second as the Lady Bruins had an 18-5 scoring advantage off those miscues alone.
Chattanooga coach Katie Burrows couldn’t dodge that bullet.
“It seems like it’s the same story and just a different day as we just didn’t take care of the basketball,” she said, not knowing what the solution to that problem might be.
“I feel like a broken record, but we just don’t value the ball enough. They moved it better than we did and we got a little selfish after the first quarter. We had plenty of shots, but we just weren’t looking for the right one.
“We weren’t as aggressive as we needed to be. They did a nice job of shutting Lakelyn Bouldin down as she only got three shots from long range. We’ve been capable of beating any team we’ve played so far, but we just have to play together as a unit and we have yet to do that for a complete game.
“These girls know what our issues are and we’re just trying to figure out what we need to do to get better. We’re ready to move on, but it’s a lonely spot to be in right now,” Burrows added.
Belmont coach Bart Brooks was happy for the most part with the way his girls played.
“We knew it would be a competitive game and I’m really proud of how we weathered their early storm,” he said in reference to that 14-3 run in the first half.
“I’m pleased for the most part, but I’m sure I’ll find things when I watch film that we can improve on. Chattanooga made it tough on us early and it took a while for us to get in rhythm, but I’m pleased with how we responded, especially in the second half,” he nodded.
Jenny Roy and Darby Maggard both scored 13 points to lead Belmont as the Lady Bruins had four players in double figures.
Macie Culbertson and former Boyd-Buchanan star Maddie Wright followed with 11 points apiece.
Coach Brooks had plenty of nice things to say about his 6-1 junior from Chattanooga.
“Maddie is one of the most talented players on our team and she brings unbelievable energy every time out. She’s one of our hardest workers and I’m really pleased with the progress she’s made. She’s a real blessing to our program,” the second-year coach praised.
While Belmont had four players in double figures, the Lady Mocs had two.
Eboni Williams had a double-double as she scored 16 points and snagged 10 rebounds as Chattanooga enjoyed a 41-32 advantage on the glass. Shelbie Davenport was next with 11 points.
While Chattanooga’s biggest lead was 24-14 in the first half, Belmont had its biggest advantage of 18 points at 65-47 following a shot in the lane by Maddie Cook with 3:02 left in the game.
The Lady Mocs will be at home again on Friday night when they face North Carolina State and former Lady Moc coach Wes Moore, who just happened to be Burrows coach way back when.
Belmont will be at home on Friday as well to face Arkansas State before a trip to Knoxville on Dec. 30 to face Tennessee’s Lady Vols.
BELMONT 14 18 17 18 -- 67
CHATTANOOGA 20 9 13 9 -- 51
BELMONT (67) – Roy 13, E. Harmeyer 5, Wright 11, Muensterman 8, Maggard 13, Culbertson 11, Cook 4, Luly 2, Kinney, Smith, Chin, H. Harmeyer.
CHATTANOOGA (51) – Lee 2, Melton 5, Davenport 11, Burns 3, Bouldin 6, Williams 16, Whitaker 3, Long 4, Burks, Cornelius, Wood, Pene, Dial.
3-POINT SHOTS: Belmont 9-30 (Roy 0-2, E. Harmeyer 1-6, Wright 1-3, Muensterman 2-5, Maggard 3-8, Culbertson 2-3, Kinney 0-1, Chinn 0-2); Chattanooga 3-10 (Melton 1-2, Davenport 1-1, Bouldin 1-3, Williams 0-2, Long 0-1).
FIELD GOALS: Belmont 27 of 57 for 47.4 percent; Chattanooga 19 of 55 for 34.5 percent.
REBOUNDS: Belmont 32 (Roy 7, E. Harmeyer 7, Culbertson 6); Chattanooga 41 (Williams 10, Melton 5, Burns 5);
ASSISTS: Belmont 14 (Roy 6, Maggard 4); Chattanooga 7 (Melton 4);
TURNOVERS: Belmont 6 (Roy 2); Chattanooga 16 (Williams 4, Lee 3, Burns 3);
STEALS: Belmont 8 (Roy 4); Chattanooga 4 (Davenport 2);
(email John Hunt at email@example.com)