CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior Kayla Christopher (Oliver Springs, Tenn.) stepped to the line with 33 seconds to play and drained two of her six free throws to give Chattanooga a 57-55 lead. On the ensuing possession, Appalachian State called timeout with 20.6 seconds on the clock to set up a play, but UTC sophomore Ka'Vonne Towns (Lilburn, Ga.) didn't give them a chance to run it with a steal in the corner.
The ball was quickly passed through the Chattanooga ranks and down the court before the Mountaineers could manage a foul. After a pair of missed free throws, junior Taylor Hall (New Tazewell, Tenn.) grabbed her third offensive rebound of the game and was sent to the line on an Appalachian State foul with 3.5 seconds to play. Hall drained both and the Lady Mocs improved to 16-3 on the year and 9-1 in Southern Conference play to remain in first in the league standings with a 59-55 win over Appalachian State Saturday night at the McKenzie Arena.
The Mountaineers drops just their fourth game of the season, second in the SoCon, to move to 12-4 overall and 6-2 in league play.
Over the first 10 minutes of the game, neither team was able to gain an advantage. Chattanooga would gradually get out front and hold on, leading 31-24 at the break.
The second half started with senior Kylie Lambert (Etowah, Tenn.) draining a three just as she did to start the game and the Lady Mocs would quickly push their lead up to 44-29, its largest of the game, with 15:41 to play on a layup from Christopher.
However, field goals would be few and far between over the final stretch of play for Chattanooga while Appalachian State mounted a comeback that would eventually give them a lead. The Mountaineers outscored Chattanooga 16-1 over the next 7:52 to knot it up 45-45 with 7:31 to play on a jumper from KeKe Cooper.
UTC freshman Alicia Payne (Memphis, Tenn.) was fouled hard on her drive to the basket and knocked down both free throws to give the lead back to Chattanooga, 47-45 with 6:51 on the clock. Cooper hit a jumper to tie it up again and Christopher sank another pair of free throws to make it 49-47 with 5:12 left in the game.
Appalachian State's Katie Mallow tied it for the third time in the closing minutes with a pair of free throws before freshman Tatianna Jackson (Atlanta, Ga.) ended the Lady Mocs field goal drought with a layup and Chattanooga led 51-49. Junior Ashlen Dewart (Spartanburg, S.C.) was fouled on a drive to the basket and her two free throws gave the Lady Mocs a gentle 53-49 cushion.
The Mountaineers battled back and took a 55-53 lead, its first since the 9:54 mark of the first half, with free throws from Anna Freeman with 2:16 to play. That would be all the scoring left for Appalachian State who missed both of its final shots from the field and Chattanooga was 4-of-6 from the free throw line for the final score.
The Mountaineers outscored Chattanooga in the paint 30-24 and Chattanooga edged ASU on second chance points 10-9 with a slight 16-14 advantage on the offensive boards. The Lady Mocs' bench contributed 10 points to the Mountaineers' four and both team scored 14 points off turnovers and just two fast break points apiece.
Four Chattanooga players scored in double figures led by Hall's game-high 15 points and she tallied her first double-double of the season with 11 rebounds and three assists. Dewart recorded her third double-double this season with 12 points and 12 rebounds, matching her season-best. Christopher and Lambert each had 11 points in the game. Christopher matched her season-best with five assists while Lambert had a season-high three 3-pointers and Jackson had six points and six rebounds.
Three Appalachian State players reached double figures. Maryah Sydnor had 12 points and eight rebounds while Katie Mallow had 12 points along with three steals. Raven Gary had nine points, four assists and three steals while league-leading scorer Anna Freeman, who was held to eight points, had a team-high nine rebounds along with two assists and four steals.
The win was Chattanooga's 21st consecutive home court win dating back to last season when the Lady Mocs went 13-0 and are 8-0 so far this season.
Chattanooga will return to action next weekend with a pair of road games. The Lady Mocs will take on Furman Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in a game that will be tape-delayed by CSS. The game will air Sunday at Noon. However, fans who can't make the trip, can hear all the action LIVE with the "Voice of the Lady Mocs" Larry Ward on ESPN 105.1 FM.