CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC Athletics) — The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s basketball got off to a fast start and swarmed past Furman 73-53 in Southern Conference action Saturday afternoon at the McKenzie Arena. Chattanooga improves to 3-0 in league play and moves to 8-10 overall with four straight wins. The Paladins fall to 10-9 on the year and 2-2 against the conference.
“What a great start we had today,” Chattanooga head coach Katie Burrows said. “We talked about pushing the tempo, getting the ball up the floor quickly and looking for easy transition points. Today we looked great, especially in the first half. I felt like we weren’t forcing things. We were doing a good job of sharing the ball.”
Chattanooga got out to a quick start and led Furman 22-11 at the end of the first quarter and built its lead to as much as 27 points early in the fourth. Freshman Eboni Williams led four Mocs in double figures in just 16 minutes on the floor. She was 6-of-10 from the field with a 3-pointer and pulled down seven rebounds.
Sophomore Bria Dial was 3-of-6 from long range and had a career-high 14 points and three assists along with two blocked shots and a pair of steals. Junior Lakelyn Bouldin drew the defensive pressure and was just shy of her season average with 11 points. She had a team-best eight rebounds, dished out two assists and recorded a career-best two blocked shots.
“She really played solid on both ends of the floor for us even though she wasn’t getting as many touches,” Burrows said.
Freshman Abbey Cornelius had her best game of the season so far with a career-best 10 points and seven rebounds. She was 5-of-5 from the field and topped her career mark with four rejections.
“I used Abbey when they went undersized because I feel like she can defend on the perimeter as well as inside,” Burrows said. “She is very disciplined. She’s very coachable. She listens when Coach [Jon] Goldberg tells her what to do. I have a lot of confidence in her when she goes in there.”
The Mocs had strong play all around with a season-high 48 rebounds, 13 blocked shots and 20 assists while turning the ball over a season-low nine times. Burrows cleared the bench and saw scoring from nine different players. Chattanooga’s reserves contributed 36 points from four players.
After doubling up the Paladins in the first quarter, UTC held Furman to just nine second quarter points and led 43-20 at the half.
In the third quarter, Le’Jzae Davidson, Furman’s leading scorer, returned to the lineup after sitting out the first 20 minutes. She led the Paladins with 14 points in the half, making 4-of-7 from long range and had a steal and two turnovers.
Furman shot 40 percent in the third quarter making 6-of-15 and outscored UTC 21-13. The Mocs were 5-of-19 in the frame. The Paladins got as close as 13 points late in the third quarter, 54-41, but that was as close as it would get. The Mocs went on a 14-0 run that spanned two quarters for its largest lead of the game, 68-41, and never dipped below 20 points the rest of the way.
Arianne Whitaker was just shy of double figures with nine points on 3-of-6 shooting and had three blocked shots and moved past Erin Ogan for eighth on the Mocs’ all-time list. Brooke Burns had seven points for the Mocs along with four rebounds, five assists with two turnovers and had two steals.
In the paint, Chattanooga outscored Furman 36-20 and had 11 points off 12 Paladin miscues. The Mocs converted 10 offensive boards into 11 points and had 21 fastbreak points compared to Furman’s eight.
After the Paladins started the game with a 3-pointer, Rochelle Lee hit a layup to put the Mocs up 4-3 and UTC never relinquished the lead.
Chattanooga will hit the road for the first time in SoCon play this season with a trip to defending Southern Conference champion Mercer on Thursday. The game is set to tip off at 5:00 p.m. and will be aired on ESPN+. Larry Ward will have the call live on 98.1 FM The Lake. Follow all the action online at GoMocs.com.