It’s safe to say that the Chattanooga women’s basketball team played its best and worst games of the season within a 48-hour span of each other.
The Mocs had a really good showing on Thursday night at McKenzie Arena when they whipped UNC-Greensboro by a 67-46 final, but they turned right around on the same floor Saturday afternoon and lost to the worst team in the league.
Facing a Western Carolina team that was tied for last place in the Southern Conference with Furman at 1-5, the Lady Catamounts played the game of their lives as they snapped a three-game losing streak with a 56-48 win over the Mocs, snapping Chattanooga’s win streak at two games.
The Catamounts entered the game shooting just over 34 percent from the field as they had lost 13 of their first 21 games. There best game from the field was a 69-51 win over Montreat when they shot 47.3 percent from the field.
Saturday was another story as Western finished the game at 59.5 percent as they sank 22 of 37 shots, including half of their 10 shots from long range.
Chattanooga had another miserable game on the offensive end as they hit just 18 of 51 from the field for 35.3 percent and just five of 22 from beyond the arc for 22.7 percent.
Chattanooga coach Shawn Poppie really didn’t know what to say following the game.
“It’s really frustrating as we just can’t seem to get over the hump,” he said in a subdued tone after the game ended.
“Western Carolina made some adjustments and took full advantage of our not being totally committed to what we were doing.
“We hang our hat on defense most of the time, but today we just weren’t focused. We had a couple of nice runs, but everytime Western needed a big shot, they made it.
“It’s hard to win against anybody when you only shoot 35 percent from the field, but we just have to try and figure it out. We don’t have the time to feel sorry for ourselves, but we have to turn things around in a hurry,” Poppie added.
Kyla Allison scored on a drive down the lane to give the Catamounts a quick 2-0 lead before Yazz Wazeerud-Din countered with a similar score 20 seconds later.
That was the only time the game was tied as the Catamounts finished the quarter on a 9-2 run for a 15-6 lead when the first quarter ended.
Chattanooga hit a trio of 3s to start the second quarter, two from Brooklyn Crouch and the other from Wazeerud-Din to cut the lead to 17-15 with 6:42 showing.
The Mocs only managed five more points the rest of the half as the lead was 31-20 at the half for the Catamounts.
Seven straight points by Chattanooga to start the second half trimmed the difference to 31-27 with 7:44 showing while a steal and layup by Sigrun Olafsdottir made it 35-34 with 3:29 showing, but it never got any closer as the difference was 42-36 with one quarter remaining.
Two free throws by Wazeerud-Din to start the final stanza got the Mocs within four at 42-38, but it got no closer as Allison scored seven straight points midway through the quarter to give the Cats their biggest lead of the game at 54-41 with 3:17 to play.
Raven Thompson scored four straight points and Destiny McClendon bagged a 3 in the final minute, but that just made the final score just a little bit more respectable.
Allison scored 20 points to lead Western Carolina while Mya Love followed with 11.
Wazeerud-Din was tops for the Mocs with 11 points.
Abbey Cornelius, Thompson and Crouch all followed with eight, seven and six points, respectively.
Western Carolina also won the rebound battle by a substantial 33-14 margin, but the fact was that Chattanooga had very few rebound opportunities after the Catamounts committed 30 turnovers and only missed 15 shots for the day.
Allison and Endia Holliday both had seven rebounds for Western Carolina while Addie Porter was tops for Chattanooga with six.
The Mocs will be back at home next Saturday for their next game as they will face ETSU in a 2 p.m. start.
WESTERN CAROLINA 15 16 11 14 -- 56
CHATTANOOGA 6 14 16 12 -- 48
WESTERN CAROLINA (56) – Trumm 5, Allison 20, Reid 6, Cruz, Holiday 5, Love 11, Kielar 2, Obasuyi 2, Stack 3.
CHATTANOOGA (48) – Cornelius 8, Thompson 7, Olafsdottir 6, Wazeerud-Din 11, Porter 3, Davis 4, Murphy, Crouch 6, McClendon 3.
FIELD GOALS: Western Carolina 22 of 37 for 59.5 percent; Chattanooga 18 of 51 for 35.3 percent.
3-POINT GOALS: Western Carolina 5 of 10 for 50.0 percent (Trumm 1-3, Allison 2-3, Love 1-1, Obasuyi 0-1, Stack 1-2); Chattanooga 5 of 22 for 22.7 percent (Thompson 0-2, Olafsdottir 0-3, Wazeerud-Din 2-10, Murphy 0-2, Crouch 2-3, McClendon 1-2).
FREE THROWS: Western Carolina 7 of 8 for 87.5 percent; Chattanooga 7 of 9 for 77.8 percent.
REBOUNDS: Western Carolina 33 (Allison 7, Holliday 7, Reid 6); Chattanooga 14 (Porter 6).
ASSISTS: Western Carolina 9 (Allison 4, Love 2); Chattanooga 11 (Cornelius 3, Thompson 3, Porter 3).
TURNOVERS: Western Carolina 30 (Allison 6, Trumm 5, Holliday 5, Love 5); Chattanooga 14 (Cornelius 4, Olafsdottir 3, Porter 4).
STEALS: Western Carolina 3 (Reid 2); Chattanooga 12 (Olafsdottir 6, Cornelius 2, Thompson 2, Wazeerud-Din 2).
BLOCKS: Western Carolina 2 (Allison, Reid); Chattanooga 3 (Wazeerud-Din 2, Porter).
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)