CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- The Lady Mocs closed out a perfect season at home Monday night with an 80-71 win over Southern Conference co-Champion Appalachian State and will enter the league tournament as the No. 3 seed. The win was University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's 13th straight at the McKenzie Arena this season and the first perfect season at home since UTC went 12-0 in the 2005-06 season.
Chattanooga improves to 21-8 overall and 16-4 in league play and the Mountaineers are 23-5 on the year and 17-3 in SoCon action, tied with Davidson for their second consecutive title.
Sophomore Taylor Hall (New Tazewell, Tenn.) drained a career-high five 3-pointers in six attempts from beyond the arc and scored a career-best 24 points in the win. She grabbed eight boards and was 7-of-8 from the free throw line. Senior Whitney Hood (Meridian, Miss.) dropped in 20 points for the fourth time this season, going 7-of-10 from the field, and pulled down seven rebounds.
Senior Tenisha Townsend (Antioch, Tenn.) had 11 points for Chattanooga and dished out five assists and was 2-of-6 from beyond the arc while junior Kayla Christopher joined the trio in double figures with 11 points of her own on 5-of-11 from the field including a 3-pointer.
The Lady Mocs scored first and the two teams traded the lead twice before Chattanooga took a bit of control getting out to a 12-8 lead at the 14:51 mark of the first half. That wouldn't last long. The Mountaineers battled back to take a 19-18 lead with 11:58 to go in the first.
It would be ASU's last lead with two more ties over the next 3:05 before Hood's layup with 8:14 to go in the first gave Chattanooga the lead for good at 27-25. Chattanooga outscored the Mountaineers 16-8 down the stretch and led 43-33 into intermission.
Appalachian State tried to get the momentum to swing their way and managed to cut the lead close several times, getting to within one, 56-55, with 11:54 to play on a layup from Maryah Sydnor. Chattanooga responded with four points, taking a 60-55 lead with 9:29 to play on free throws from Hood, but a 3-point play by Anna Freeman brought App. State back to within a pair at 60-58 with 9:14 to play.
Hall brought the momentum swiftly back to the Lady Mocs bringing the crowd of 1,832 to their feet on back-to-back 3-pointers to punch Chattanooga's lead to eight points, 66-58, with 7:56 to play.
ASU wouldn't be held back, scoring six unanswered to bring the Mountaineers back to within two on a jumper from Sydnor with 5:04 to play making it a 66-64 contest.
Chattanooga pieced together another run started with a jumper from Christopher with 4:23 to play and capped off 1:19 later with another of Hall's 3-pointers to give the Lady Mocs a 73-64 lead. Appalachian State got 3-pointers from Canesha Edwards, her first of the season, and Katie Mallow to make it a 73-70 game with 1:33 to play.
ASU would only manage one more point over the remainder of the game and the Lady Mocs would get 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch to get the 80-71 win over the Mountaineers.
Anna Freeman had a team-high 22 points for the Mountaineers and six rebounds along with six assists, two blocked shots and three steals. Raven Gary tossed in 13 points and three assists while Sydnor had 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
The Lady Mocs won the battle of the boards, 37-31, after getting outrebounded 48-25 in Boone earlier this season. The Mountaineers came into the game leading the league in rebounding with 43.1 per game and had a SoCon-best 7.5 rebounding margin. The 31 rebounds is the fewest by Appalachian State this season.
The Lady Mocs had 12 offensive rebounds to ASU's 11 and had 15 second chance points compared to Appalachian State's 10. UTC had 20 points off 12 Mountaineer miscues and had six fast break points. ASU outscored Chattanooga in the paint 28-22 and had 14 bench points compared to UTC's 10.
Chattanooga will receive a first-round bye at the Southern Conference Tournament and is slated to take on either No. 6 Furman or No. 11 UNCG Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. at Kimmel Arena on the UNC Asheville campus. The loss, coupled with Davidson's win over Samford, leaves the Mountaineers in a tie with the Wildcats at 17-3 in league play. Davidson draws the No.1 seed after sweeping ASU in the regular season.
Larry Ward, the "Voice of the Lady Mocs" will have the call live on either ESPN 105.1 FM or WPLZ 95.3 FM. The station depends on the result of the Mocs Friday night game. A win will put the two teams playing at the same time. Live stats, streaming audio and video will be available at the official website of Chattanooga athletic, GoMocs.com.