Chattanooga’s Lady Mocs won a big basketball game on Thursday night when they beat Wofford in a big Southern Conference game at McKenzie Arena.
These same Lady Mocs won an even bigger conference game on Saturday as they rallied to beat Furman.
Chattanooga shot an impressive 59.6 percent from the field in Thursday’s win. They weren’t able to match that on Saturday, but the defense was stout as Furman was limited to just 16 points in the second half as Chattanooga improved to 4-14 overall and 3-1 in league play with a 60-52 victory.
Furman loses for the first time in conference play and is now 3-1 there while falling to 12-6 overall in a game where their five-game winning streak was snapped.
“Lots of folks stepped up big today,” said UTC coach Katie Burrows following Chattanooga’s second straight win and third victory in four games after enduring a tough 11-game losing streak.
“I just can’t say enough about our effort and intensity, but these young ladies have continued to work hard all season and their finally being rewarded. We didn’t shoot as well today as on Thursday and we’re still struggling with turnovers, but we did a great job defensively.
“Furman’s a good team. We didn’t allow them to do what they wanted to do offensively and we were big on the boards in the second half. But we were fortunate to be able to pull it out and I can’t tell you how proud I am,” Burrows added.
Nakeia Burks, who led the Lady Mocs with 17 points, knocked down a 3 from the wing at the 7:40 mark of the third quarter to give Chattanooga its first lead at 37-36.
Chattanooga had a one-point lead four more times in the third stanza, including 45-44 with one quarter remaining.
Furman opened the final quarter with six straight points for a 50-45 lead with 7:30 to play when Taylor Petty scored on a drive from the wing.
Le’Jzae Davidson scored on a drive down the lane with 5:42 left to put the Lady Paladins up 52-47, but Furman didn’t score again at Chattanooga finished the game on a 13-0 run.
Several times in the third quarter, the Lady Mocs would have a one-point lead, but could never add to it.
Burks scored on a layup with 1:18 to play to put Chattanooga up for the last time at 53-52.
Freshman Dena Jarrells then canned a 3 with 36 second left in what turned out to be the turning point in the game.
Chattanooga had possession with that precarious one-point lead. Nobody was open at the top of the key, but Jarrells got open in the corner with the shot clock winding down. She didn’t hesitate to shoot when the ball came her way and she responded by swishing the shot for a four-point lead.
Burks hit all four of her free throws in the final 21 seconds to secure the win.
Burrows has all the confidence in the world in Jarrells, a 5-6 freshman from West Virginia who came into the game averaging just over 16 minutes per game and 3.6 points. She finished with eight points, but none were any bigger than the final three.
“Dena is a freshman, but doesn’t play like one as she has ice in her veins. She was wide open and had her feet set, so I had all the confidence when she took that shot. She’s not shy and will take a good shot when she’s open, but for her to be able to capitalize in a situation like that is huge,” praised Burrows.
“A game like this just gives us the confidence we need,” said Lakelyn Bouldin after finishing with 14 points.
“There have been plenty of times this season when we’d get a lead late, but something would always happen late and we’d lose it. Maybe a shot like the one Dena made will get us over the hump. We had to focus on defense and getting stops. That was the key for us today,” she added.
Burks too was all smiles in the post-game interview room.
“That was so much fun,” she began.
“We know how to fight, so we aren’t going to quit against anybody. And Dena is a gym rat. She works hard all the time and it shows. I knew her shot was going in as soon as it left her hands, but we’re only going to get better,” the senior guard from Huntsville smiled.
Furman hit 40 percent of its shots in the first half, but were ice cold in the final 20 minutes.
They were good on four of 24 from the field for 16.6 percent and only one of 11 from long range. Chattanooga’s defense was the star as they created that second-half turnaround.
Burks and Bouldin were the only Lady Mocs in double figures with 17 and 14 points, respectively.
Jarrells finished with eight and Eboni Williams seven. Bria Dial and Williams topped Chattanooga with seven rebounds each.
Petty finished with 21 points to lead Furman while Davidson had 13. Tierra Hodges had 14 rebounds as Furman won that battle, 35-33.
Chattanooga’s next three games are on the road, starting with Samford next Thursday. Trips to Mercer and ETSU follow before the next home against North Carolina-Greensboro on Feb. 6.
Furman will be home next Thursday for its next game with UNCG.
FURMAN 18 18 8 8 -- 52
CHATTANOOGA 13 19 13 15 -- 60
FURMAN (52) – Hodges 8, Taborn 1, Manojlovic 2, Davidson 13, Petty 21, Taylor 7, Outten, West, Hunter, Boone.
CHATTANOOGA (60) – Williams 7, Cornelius 5, Dial 5, Burks 17, Bouldin 14, Pene, Uwusiaba 4, Search, Jarrells 8.
FIELD GOALS: Furman 14 of 49 for 28.6 percent; Chattanooga 19 of 48 for 39.6 percent.
3-POINT GOALS: Furman 5 of 19 for 26.3 percent (Manojlovic 0-4, Davidson 3-10, Petty 2-5); Chattanooga 5 for 17 for 29.4 percent (Williams 0-2, Cornelius 1-1, Dial 1-6, Bouldin 0-2, Burks 1-2, Pene 0-2, Jarrells 2-2).
REBOUNDS: Furman 35 (Hodges 14, Petty 4, Taylor 4, Davidson 3); Chattanooga 33 (Williams 7, Dial 7, Cornelius 5, Burks 3, Bouldin 3).
TURNOVERS: Furman 19 (Manojlovic 7, Taylor 3, Hodges 2); Chattanooga 19 (Williams 7, Dial 4, Cornelius 3).
ASSISTS: Furman 8 (Manojlovic 5, Taborn 2); Chattanooga 13 (Williams 7, Bouldin 3, Cornelius 2).
STEALS: Furman 9 (Davidson 2, Taylor 2); Chattanooga 10 (Williams 5, Dial 3).
TOTAL FOULS: Furman 23, Chattanooga 19.
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)