The UTC women went on the big March Madness stage Friday before a packed house at Virginia Tech, but fell 58-33.
It marked the return of new Chattanooga coach Shawn Poppie to the court where he served as an assistant to Kenny Brooks.
After several sub-par Moc years, Poppie got the squad to a Southern Conference tournament championship and an automatic berth in the Big Dance.
But his 16-seed Mocs had to face the top seed Atlantic Coast Conference champs on their home court at Blacksburg.
Virginia Tech scored the game's first eight points before reserve Karsen Murphy connected on a three.
It was 9-5 after a Raven Thompson layup. Then Murphy pulled it to 9-8.
But Thompson and senior Abbey Cornelius quickly picked up two fouls each while dealing with the lanky Elizabeth Kitley.
Chattanooga stayed dialed on eight points as the first quarter ended. They trailed 31-16 at halftime.
Thompson and senior Yazz Wazeerun-dun scored 10 each.
Chattanooga concludes the season 20-13 overall behind its 16th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance. The 20-plus win season marked the first for the program since 2016-17 and the 21st in program history.
"They did a really good job," coach Poppie said of the Virginia Tech defense. "They've been doing that all year. We knew we had our hands full. We were gonna have to make some shots and we did not make shots."
He added, "We’ve got to make sure we springboard off this year, this run, which I know this group well. We got some fighters in there. We got some fighters returning. I'm proud of our seniors for giving everything they did for us and it's time to capitalize on the movement.”
Virginia Tech's Georgia Amoore led all scorers with 22 points as four different Hokies ended in double figures.
NOTES TO KNOW
· 16th NCAA Tournament appearance...most in league history with the program earning the league's first bid in 1989...1st time as a 16 seed...the Mocs have been seeded 7 (2015), 10 (2004), 11 (2013, 2014), 12 (1989, 1992, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2016), 13 (2002, 2010, 2017).
· 21st 20-win season in school history… first since 21-11 in 2016-17... Shawn Poppie is the third Chattanooga coach to record 20 wins in first season joining Sharon Fanning (1976-77, 20-13) & Jim Foster (2013-14, 29-4).
· Senior Abbey Cornelius was playing in her first NCAA Tournament continuing an impressive run of Mocs high school signees…since the start of the 1997-98 season, only one Moc has signed as a freshman and completed eligibility without playing in the NCAA Tournament.
· Yazz Wazeerud-Din scored 10 points tonight… 30th game this season in double figures... Wazeerud-Din's 519 points are the most by a Moc since Whitney Hood tallied 584 in 2011…she is the 17th to score 500 in a campaign for the program and first since Ashlen Dewart's 504 in 2013.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
· The Mocs shot just 27.3% (6-of-22) from the field in the opening half… half of the FGM came from behind the arc (3-of-7, 42.9%)… Karsen Murphy provided two threes in the first half.
· Yazz Wazeerud-Din and Raven Thompson accounted for 33 of the team's 49 total field-goal attempts… both finished with 10 points… Thompson accounted for eight boards and two steals.
· Virginia Tech shot an efficient 47.9% (23-of-48) from the field… went just 5-of-14 (35.7%) from deep… four players reached double figures with Georgia Amoore pacing the contest with 22… all five VT threes came from Amoore.
· UTC and VT each turned the ball over 15 times… Hokies earned a 15-7 advantage in points off miscues… also earned a 32-18 edge in points in the paint behind a 38-22 rebounding advantage.