COLLEGE STATION, Texas --- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga 11-seed women’s basketball team couldn’t hold off a late Nebraska rally Saturday evening at Reed Arena on the Texas A&M campus, falling 73-59 to the Cornhuskers in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament.
Six-seeded (#24) Nebraska outscored Chattanooga 41-27 in the second half after rallying late in the first to take a 32-30 lead before a jumper from junior Faith Dupree (Knoxville, Tenn.) pulled Chattanooga even, 32-32 at intermission.
The Lady Mocs put together a 15-6 run to start the second half behind a trio of 3-pointers with junior Alex Black (Memphis, Tenn.) draining two of her four in the run to put Chattanooga up 47-38 with 15:49 to play.
After starting the latter period with a 6-of-7 shooting effort, UTC missed six of its next seven shots and the Huskers put together a 12-2 run to take its first lead since the 19:01 mark of the first half at 50-49 on a 3-pointer from Jordan Hooper.
The Lady Mocs managed to tie it up twice more and grab a couple of narrow leads with buckets from freshman Tatianna Jackson (Atlanta, Ga.) before Nebraska got out front for good. Hooper scored 11 of the Huskers final 15 points draining three 3-pointers and a pair of free throws.
Junior Taylor Hall (New Tazewell, Tenn.) started the game with three 3-pointers, tying her season-high and led three Chattanooga players in double-figures with 13 points and eight rebounds. Black was 4-of-5 from the 3-point line with 12 points and five assists while senior Kayla Christopher (Oliver Springs, Tenn.) added 11 points, making the Lady Mocs’ lone free throw on a 3-point play.
Nebraska shot 53.8 percent in the second half on 14-of-26 from the field for a final 48 percent effort. Hooper posted a game-high 21 points making 4-of-6 from the field and added 12 rebounds for a double-double. Lindsey Moore had 13 points and a game-high seven assists whiel Rachel Theriot added 12 points. Emily Cady just missed a double-double with 10 points and nine boards for the Huskers.
Chattanooga’s bench outscored the Huskers 15-13 but couldn’t hold their own in the paint with Nebraska outscoring UTC 32-18. The Lady Mocs were outrebounded 39-30 but won the battle on the offensive glass 9-7. Chattanooga force 15 Nebraska miscues but managed to score just five points while the Huskers had 11 points off 12 Chattanooga turnovers.
Chattanooga was 24-of-66 from the field and 10-of-28 from the 3-point line while making its sole free throw in the game. Nebraska, ranked 24th in the AP Top 25, was 24-of-50 with seven 3-pointers and made 18-of-23 from the charity stripe.
The Lady Mocs, the Southern Conference regular season and tournament champions, close out the season matching its best wins total at 29-4. Nebraska improves to 24-8 and will take on three-seed Texas A&M Monday night at Reed Arena.