The Chattanooga women’s basketball team is set to face its toughest test yet of the 2023-24 season, as the 7-1 Mocs play host to No. 21 Mississippi State on Sunday, December 3, at McKenzie Arena.
Riding a five-game win streak into the weekend, the Mocs (7-1, 0-0 SoCon) are set to square off against a Bulldogs (8-1, 0-0 SEC) squad that is coming off its first loss of the season on Wednesday to unranked Miami (FL). Mississippi State is currently ranked 21st in the country in both the AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Polls.
A win over the Bulldogs would be UTC’s first victory over a Top 25 opponent since November 26, 2014, when the Mocs took down then-No. 4 ranked Tennessee 67-63 in McKenzie Arena.
Sunday’s game against the Bulldogs is set to tip at 2 p.m. ET at the Roundhouse. Fans not in attendance can follow along on ESPN+ or tune the radio dial to 104.3 FM/The Varsity Network. Live stats will also be available on GoMocs.com.
GAME DAY INFORMATION
Date: Sunday, December 3, 2023
Time: 2:00 p.m. ET
Follow the game live online on ESPN+, WFLI, The Varsity App or the GoMocs App. Links are available online at GoMocs.com.
Chattanooga enters their contest with the No. 21 team in the country as one of the top shooting programs in the nation through its opening eight games of action, as the Mocs actively rank seventh in the country in team three-point percentage (.412) and 23rd in the NCAA in team field goal percentage (.480). The Mocs have also clamped up many of their opponents this year, as UTC is currently 14th in the nation in three-point percentage defense (.220) and 18th in scoring defense (51.8) to open the season. UTC enters the game riding a five-game win streak, marking the team’s longest win streak since the 2020-21 season.
It's been the Jada Guinn show for Chattanooga to open the year, as the grad transfer has hit the ground running since joining the team this offseason. Coming off a week at the Daytona Beach Classic where she raked in Daytona Beach Classic MVP and SoCon Player of the Week honors, the Oak Ridge, Tennessee, native has proved a dominant scorer in UTC’s offense. Guinn currently is averaging a team-high 17.3 points/game and has scored 10+ points in all eight games of the season this year. She isn’t the only weapon at Coach Poppie’s disposal, as reigning SoCon Freshman of the Year Raven Thompson is currently averaging 14.8 points/game while true freshman Hannah Kohn has been an elite addition from behind the arc, as she currently leads the entire NCAA in three-point percentage by shooting 60 percent while averaging 2.3 threes per game.
After an 8-0 start to the 2023-24 season, Mississippi State climbed its way up to the No. 21 ranking in both the AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Polls with key wins over the likes of Belmont and Clemson. The Bulldogs will not enter their matchup with the Mocs with a blemish-free record, however, as MSU dropped their first game of the year earlier this week to Miami (FL) in the 2023 ACC/SEC Challenge. Even with the loss, State still holds a very impressive average margin of victory (+23.0) on the year. Mississippi State’s height will be the biggest factor in Sunday’s matchup, as the Bulldogs are currently out-rebounding their opponents 42.4 to 31.3 this season along with averaging 4.9 blocks/game.
Mississippi State has had a wide variety of scorers to open the season, but none more consistent the Bulldogs’ leading scorer Jerkaila Jordan who is averaging a team-high 17.2 points/game while shooting 47.2 percent from the floor to open the year. The Mocs will also have to deal with MSU’s starting center Jessika Carter, who not only was a Preseason All-SEC First Team selection but was one of 20 players in the country named to the Lisa Leslie Award watch list, which is awarded to the nation’s best center. Carter is currently averaging 12.4 points/game for the Bulldogs alongside a team-high 7.4 rebounds/game. MSU’s starting point guard Lauren Park-Lane also has dazzled for Mississippi State to open the season, as her 57 total assists currently rank as the third-most of any player in the NCAA this year.
The last time the Mocs and the Bulldogs squared off came in 2016, when the two teams clashed in the opening round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament in Starkville on March 18. The Bulldogs, who entered the matchup ranked as the No. 15 team in the country, received the No. 5 seed while Chattanooga came into the game as the No. 12 seed for the region. Despite UTC leading the game at the conclusion of the first quarter, the Bulldogs were able to pull away from the Mocs as UTC forward Jasmine Joyner got into early foul trouble for the Mocs. A late push by Chattanooga cut the MSU lead to as close as three points in the fourth quarter, but one final scoring run by the Bulldogs was the dagger in UTC’s postseason run as Mississippi State came away with a 60-50 win over the Mocs. Mississippi State would go on to the Sweet Sixteen with a win over five-seeded Michigan State before falling to the eventual national champions, UConn.