CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- With two minutes remaining in the game, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga sophomore guard Alicia Payne (Memphis, Tenn.) let loose a 3-pointer from about a foot beyond the arc to give UTC a little breathing room and the Lady Mocs would go on to beat Davidson 72-64 to remain undefeated in Southern Conference action.
Payne’s 3-pointer, with 2:01 on the clock, broke a 58-58 tie and would be the final field goal for Chattanooga who went 11-of-13 from the free throw line down the stretch as Davidson tried to stay in the game. UTC outscored the Wildcats 14-6 over the final two minutes, beginning with Payne’s trey, garnering its 12th win of the season.
After trailing 10-5 to start the game, Chattanooga freshman Chelsey Shumpert (Paducah, Ky.) drove the lane and senior Alex Black banked in a 3-pointer on an inbounds play with three seconds on the shot clock to spark a 15-2 run, giving UTC a 20-12 lead with 6:22 to play in the first half. Chattanooga closed out the first half with a 3-pointer from Shumpert with just seconds remaining and led 32-21 at the break.
In the second half, Chattanooga’s lead would grow to as much as 15 points early on, but that would begin slipping away when Davidson found its offense. Senior Taylor Hall hit a jumper with 16:33 to play in the game to put Chattanooga up 42-27, but a layup by the Wildcats, followed by a UTC turnover and a missed 3-pointer, helped Davidson cut the lead to 42-32 on its first 3-pointer of the game at the 14:56 mark.
Chattanooga would get back to a 13-point lead on free throws from sophomore Tatianna Jackson (Atlanta, Ga.) with 13:27 to play, but it would be more than five minutes and just one free throw before the Lady Mocs would get another field goal.
In that time, the Wildcats would outscore UTC 10-1 and force three turnovers while Chattanooga missed its four shot attempts to make it 48-44 with 8:44 to play. Jackson connected on the Lady Mocs’ field goal to put UTC back up 50-44, but Davidson continued to push and took a 56-54 lead with 3:52 to play.
That would be their last of the game as Chattanooga back-to-back layups from seniors Taylor Hall (New Tazewell, Tenn.) and Faith Dupree (Knoxville, Tenn.) to put UTC back out front 58-56. The Wildcats would tie it up once more on free throws from Dakota Dukes to make it 58-58 with 2:27 to play, but it would be Chattanooga’s game from there.
Davidson, the league leader for3-point shooting was held without a bucket from beyond the arc in the first half, making just four attempts and had just four in the game.
UTC Head Coach Jim Foster saw scoring from nine different players with the points spread out across the roster. Hall led Chattanooga with 15 points and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds and added five assists. She made a season-best 7-of-7 from the free throw line and played 39 minutes. Jackson was 4-of-7 from the field with 10 points and five boards.
Dupree had nine points and seven rebounds including four off the offensive glass while freshman Aryanna Gilbert (Columbia, Tenn.) added nine points of her own. Shumpert scored all eight of her points in the first half and Payne scored all eight of her points in the final two minutes making a 3-pointer and 5-of-6 from the charity stripe.
Chattanooga outrebounded Davidson 40-25 and had 17 offensive boards. UTC outscored the Wildcats 38-24 in the paint and got 31 points from the bench compared to Davidson’s nine.
Davidson was 24-of-56 (42.9%) for the game and shot 47.1 percent in the second half. Dukes led all scorers with 18 points with an 8-of-8 performance from the free throw line. Shannon Ericksson scored 14 points and added eight rebounds and three assists while Hannah Early was 5-of-11 on the night with 12 points and three assists in 40 minutes.
Laura Murray, the No. 2 scorer in the league averaging 19.6 points per game, was held to just nine points on the night and was 0-of-6 from beyond the arc. Shneeka Center added nine points in the effort for Davidson.
Chattanooga improves to 12-3 on the year and 4-0 in SoCon play while the Wildcats drop to 6-9 overall and suffer its first loss in league action, moving to 3-1. UTC will travel next weekend to Western Carolina for a 2 p.m. matchup at the Ramsey Center in Cullowhee, N.C. The Catamounts are 7-7 on the year and 1-2 in league play.