Chattanooga’s Lady Mocs did some serious soul-searching after Thursday’s 71-60 Southern Conference basketball defeat at home against the Samford Lady Bulldogs and it paid off with a coast-to-coast win on Saturday at McKenzie Arena.
Spending more time watching film of Thursday’s game and even spending more time than normal shooting outside of practice, the Lady Mocs played one of their best games of the year to win 70-57 against the league leaders in a game that really wasn’t as close as the final score might indicate.
Nobody wants to win any more than head coach Katie Burrows and nobody agonizes over losses any more than the former Chattanooga standout. So you can only imagine how happy she was early Saturday night after her team had improved to 8-6 overall and 3-2 in league play.
“We had a really good practice on Friday and I challenged them to take their preparation to the next level. They came back today and responded,” said Burrows in her post-game radio interview with Larry Ward.
“We knew we had to shoot the ball better and we had several players who spent extra time on their own putting up more shots, but I thought we did a great job today. I’m glad we could get everyone into the game as they all work hard in practice and deserve playing time.
“The two stats that stand out most to me and make me really happy is the fact we had 23 assists and only 12 turnovers. But I’m so excited and I’m going to celebrate a little bit with them,” she concluded.
Samford is now 7-7 overall and loses for the first time in league competition after winning its first four. The Lady Bulldogs are still tied with Wofford for the league lead after the Lady Terriors suffered a 65-54 loss against Western Carolina.
Samford never led in this game and the score was only tied twice, both in the early going at 2-2 and 5-5. A 12-3 run in the final eight minutes of the opening quarter allowed the Lady Mocs to lead 17-8 when the first quarter ended.
The lead only got bigger as a 3 by Brooke Hampel with 1:38 left before halftime gave the Lady Mocs their biggest lead of the half at 40-23.
The second of two free throws by Andrea Cournoyer with 18 seconds showing trimmed the difference to 40-24 at intermission.
Kallie Searcy gave her team its biggest lead of the third stanza at 57-31 and 59-33 with late buckets as the difference of 26 when the quarter ended was the biggest of the game.
An inside move by Eboni Williams gave Chattanooga a 68-45 lead with 6:12 left before the Lady Bulldogs finished the game on a 12-2 run.
Abbey Cornelius and Williams set the pace for the Chattanooga offense with 16 and 15 points, respectively, while Bria Dial had 10. Amaria Pugh and Dena Jarrells both added nine points.
Cournoyer scored 19 points to lead Samford after torching the nets for 26 on Thursday. She was the only Lady Bulldog in double figures. Audra Leipold finished with seven points while Annie Ramil, Makaila Woodard and Kiersten Nelson all had six points.
Chattanooga enjoyed a 41-38 rebounding edge as Williams grabbed 14, including six on the offensive end. Cornelius was next with eight while Sigrun Olafsdottir snagged six.
The Lady Mocs had the hot hand in the first quarter as they sank 10 of 14 field goal attempts for 71.4 percent and finished the game by sinking 31 of 69 attempts for 44.9 percent. Samford countered with 21 of 55 for 38.2 percent.
Chattanooga will be on the road for the next two weekends with games at Mercer on Jan. 28 and 30 before going to Wofford for games on Feb. 4 and 6.
SAMFORD 15 9 9 24 -- 57
CHATTANOOGA 23 17 19 11 -- 70
SAMFORD (57) – Ramil 6, Armstrong 4, Cournoyer 19, Hampton 2, Omar 1, Leipold 7, Woolard 6, Nelson 6, Allen 6, Wheeler, Langford.
CHATTANOOGA (70) – Williams 15, Cornelius 16, Olafsdottir 4, Dial 10, Pugh 9, Jarrells 9, Hill, Hampel 3, Uwusiaba, Searcy 4, Pene, Wood, Canter.
FIELD GOALS: Samford 21 of 55 for 38.2 percent; Chattanooga 31 of 69 for 44.9 percent.
FREE THROWS: Samford 11 of 23 for 47.8 percent; Chattanooga 0 for 1 for zero percent.
3-POINT GOALS: Samford 4 of 16 for 25 percent (Armstrong 0-1, Cournoyer 3-7, Hampton 0-3, Leipold 0-2, Woolard 0-2, Allen 1-1); Chattanooga 8 of 31 for 25.8 percent (Williams 1-4, Cornelius 0-1, Olafsdottir 0-3, Dial 2-8, Pugh 1-5, Jarrells 3-4, Hill 0-1, Hampel 1-3, Pene 0-1, Wood 0-1).
REBOUNDS: Samford 38 (Woolard 8, Ramil 5); Chattanooga 41 (Williams 14, Cornelius 8, Olafsdottir 6).
ASSISTS: Samford 9 (Cournoyer 2, Hampton 2, Omar 2, Leipold 2); Chattanooga 23 (Cornelius 6, Williams 4, Pugh 4, Jarrells 3, Olafsdottir 3).
TURNOVERS: Samford 16 (Hampton 4, Leipold 4); Chattanooga 12 (Olalsdottir 4, Williams 2).
STEALS: Samford 8 (Woolard 2, six players with one each); Chattanooga 8 (Williams 3, Cornelius 2).
BLOCKS: Samford 3 (Armstrong 2); Chattanooga 3 (Cornelius 2).
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)