BIRMINGHAM, Ala. --- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s basketball team outscored Samford 12-5 in the final period to claim a thrilling 74-67 double-overtime win at the Pete Hanna Center Monday night.
Freshman Chelsey Shumpert (Paducah, Ky.) led UTC with six points in the second overtime beginning with the first points of the period. Chattanooga never trailed in the final stanza, but Samford’s Christy Robinson tied it 67-67 on a layup with 1:53 to play. Shumpert answered with her third 3-pointer of the game and that was followed up by a jumper from the free throw line from senior Alex Black (Memphis, Tenn.) with 24 seconds to play make it 72-67.
Senior Taylor Hall (New Tazewell, Tenn.) snared her fourth steal of the game and was fouled to secure the win with 4.4 seconds to play as she tried to avoid the defenders. She drained both of her free throws for the final tally, 74-67. Hall, with her 12th double-double of the season, led UTC with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
After trailing 19-13 with 6:28 to play in the first half, Chattanooga battled back to take a 29-24 lead into halftime, outscoring Samford 16-5 down the stretch. However, at the start of the second half, Samford, led by eight points from Robinson in the first 1:57, tied it 33-33 on a 3-pointer from Hannah Nichols with 16:58 to play.
The Bulldogs got out front by as much as five points twice, leading 54-49 with 2:16 to play. Chattanooga held Samford scoreless over the final two minutes and Black led the Lady Mocs with four of UTC’s five points to tie it up 54-54 with 15 seconds to play. On the defensive end of the court, freshman Jasmine Joyner (Southaven, Miss.) blocked a shot by Robinson with two seconds left in regulation and Hall corralled the rebound as time ran out.
In the first overtime, Chattanooga took a brief lead to start the period on a layup by Shumpert. Samford retook the lead on another 3-pointer from Nichols. Hall gave UTC the lead, 58-57 with 2:44 to play, but the Bulldogs got back on top with a pair of free throws from Kassidy Blevins, but only extended their lead to 60-58 with 1:47 to play when Robinson made just one of her two charity tosses.
Shumpert went off a screen from Hall with 1:21 to play and hit a 3-pointer to give UTC a 61-60 lead. The trey was reviewed, but determined that she was behind the arc.
Free throws again gave Samford the lead, 62-61 with 35 seconds to go in the extra period, but UTC answered with junior Ka’Vonne Towns (Lilburn, Ga.) making the first of her two free throws to knot it up 62-62. Samford’s coach Mike Morris called for time and Towns was unable to make the second shot, but UTC forced a turnover in the final seconds with Black coming up with the steal as time again ticked off the clock.
Robinson scored four of Samford’s five points in the second overtime and led all scorers with 22 points and had a team-high seven rebounds. She went 8-of-17 from the field and was 5-of-7 from the free throw line and had six turnovers. Nichols was 4-12 from beyond the 3-point arc with 12 points while Lydia McGee added 11 for the Bulldogs and Kassidy Blevins had nine points and seven boards.
Hall was 8-for-8 from the free throw line and was 6-of-17 from the field. Shumpert hit a career-high for points (17) and rebounds (7) and made all three of UTC’s 3-pointers matching her career-best from beyond the arc. Joyner tossed in eight points and pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds while adding five blocked shots to her team-high total and now has 37 on the year. Black just missed her career-best with 16 points and matched her best in steals with three.
Chattanooga outscored Samford 38-26 in the paint and had 24 points off 16 Bulldog miscues compared to nine Samford points on 13 UTC turnovers. The Lady Mocs outdueled Samford 42-39 on the boards, but the Bulldogs were able to convert eight offensive boards into 15 points compared to just two for UTC on seven boards.
The lead changed 13 times and the two teams knotted it up another 13 times. Chattanooga’s largest lead of the game was seven points in the final 39 seconds of the first half, while Samford was only able to get out front by six points with 6:28 to play in the first.
Chattanooga improves to 24-3 overall and runs its win streak to 20 games. UTC is 16-0 in league play and has won 32 straight regular season SoCon games while getting its 12th straight road win, second-best in the nation. Samford falls to 9-18 overall and 7-9 in conference action.
UTC will host Elon Friday night in its annual Pink Game in support of Breast Cancer Awareness. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to show their support. The game tips off at 7 p.m. at the Roundhouse. The game is also part of the “I Love UTC” week that kicked off Monday at Heritage Plaza with a pep rally.