CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s basketball team kept its home court win streak intact Saturday night, but just barely. Chattanooga lost an 18-point lead but came away with a 69-60 win over Georgia Southern Saturday night at the McKenzie Arena to remain undefeated in league play. Chattanooga improves to 11-3 on the year and 3-0 in SoCon action. The Eagles drop the 3-11 overall and 1-2 against the conference.
After leading by as much as 18 points early in the second half, Chattanooga saw its 42-24 lead dissipate on a 12-3 run by the Eagles to make it 45-36 with 15:38 to play. UTC managed just four points over the next 3:48 and Georgia Southern knotted the game 49-49 with 10:19 on the clock.
Chattanooga would miss its next shot, but senior Taylor Hall (New Tazewell, Tenn.) forced a turnover and fed the ball down court to junior Ka’Vonne Towns (Lilburn, Ga.) who was fouled on her fastbreak attempt. She drained both free throws to spark a 10-0 Chattanooga run.
Towns would force the next Eagle miscue and was hit two free throws after she was fouled on her trip down the court. Hall grabbed a defensive rebound following a Georgia Southern miss and hit the jumper to make it 55-49 with 8:31 to play.
Georgia Southern missed a couple of 3-point attempts and Chattanooga pushed the tempo with Hall connecting on a layup who forced another turnover on the ensuing GSU possession and getting the ball down court to sophomore Tatianna Jackson (Atlanta, Ga.) who put up a left-handed layup on the fast break to make it 59-49 with 6:14 on the clock.
Georgia Southern would only get as close as 61-55 over the final stretch and Chattanooga came away with the win to make it 31 straight at the Roundhouse. That is the second longest active win streak in the nation behind Baylor’s 67 consecutive home court wins.
Chattanooga was led in scoring by Hall who went 6-of-6 from the free throw line, four in the final 1:23 of the game. She had 15 points with five rebounds, 5 assists and a season-high six steals. That is the most steals by a Chattanooga player this season.
Senior Alex Black (Memphis, Tenn.) was 2-of-3 from beyond the arc and had 12 points with three assists while senior Ashlen Dewart (Spartanburg, S.C.) scored 11 points with a pair of 3-pointers and five rebounds while Towns was 4-of-4 from the charity stripe and was the fourth UTC player in double figures with 11 points.
Chattanooga had 12 steals on the night, the most by the team this season and had 17 assists. UTC edged GSU 30-24 in the paint but was outscored 26-23 off turnovers despite forcing the Eagles into 19 miscues. Georgia Southern outrebounded Chattanooga 32-29 and scored 15 second chance points off 11 offensive boards compared to Chattanooga’s six points off eight boards. UTC’s bench stepped up with 27 points to GSU’s 10.
Chattanooga shot 58.8 percent in the second half, but shot just 17 times in the period with 12 turnovers. UTC was 24-of-48 for the game and 7-of-18 from the 3-point line. After making just 4-of-7 from the free throw line in the first half, UTC was 10-of-12 in the second.
The Eagles were 22-of-53 (41.5%) on the night and shot 8-of-15 from beyond the arc. Georgia Southern’s MiMi DuBose led all scorers with 16 points with four assists while Sierra Kirkland added 11 points and seven rebounds. Anna Claire Knight had nine points and five rebounds while Briana Jones added seven boards and six points with three steals.
Chattanooga remains home and will host Davidson (6-8, 3-0 SoCon) Monday night at the Roundhouse. The game is set to tip off at 7 p.m. and will broadcast LIVE on Hippie Radio 106.9 FM.