By Jackson Sparks, Sports Editor–
Five seconds remained in the game as Lakelyn Boudlin inbounded the ball to Abby Cornelius. The 6-foot-2 forward drove into the lane, attracting a crowd of defensive attention, then whipped a fastball to Bria Dial. With a Wofford Terrier closing out quickly, Dial didn’t hesitate and stepped into a three-pointer, draining it as the final buzzer sounded. Mocs 51, Terriers 49. Dial’s teammates swarmed her in victory.
That was one of the last occasions we saw Dial and her Mocs take the floor. And that heroic shot helped propel Dial’s confidence to a new level. “Before that, I would definitely say that I would be scared if someone told me I was going to take the last shot,” said Dial. “But now, I want to take that shot.”
With last year’s leading scorer, Bouldin graduating, Dial returns as one of the most volatile offensive weapons for Chattanooga. But Dial doesn’t do all her work on the offensive side of the ball. She sits at ninth all-time on the Mocs Women’s basketball block list (65.)
Heading into her senior season, Dial wants to continue to just play her game and build off of what she has accomplished so far. “Being a senior doesn’t really change much for me,” said Dial. “I am still going to have the same kind of influence as I’ve had in the past. I’ll help people with the stuff I know how to do, but I am more laid back.”
The Brentwood Academy alum is no stranger to winning. She helped her high school squad win three consecutive state championships and aided the Mocs in bringing home a regular season SoCon championship last spring. Dial brings an expectation of winning and isn’t content with anything less. While the team brought home hardware with a 10-4 SoCon record, they netted an overall losing campaign. (11-18). “I definitely want to have a winning record and win the SoCon again,” said Dial, “I’m very confident in this team, and I’m excited to play with this team. It’s a much different team than I’ve been on before, but we should be able to win.”
Dial said she set a goal to have more of a positive attitude at all times, and that will in turn, elevate her to an even better player. “Even when stuff gets tough, I’ve got to remain positive,” said Dial “So I’ve been working on that over the summer.”
With Covid-19 taking a stranglehold on athletics across the country, Dial is itching to get back to competition. “I love the game, I’m so tired of just practicing,” said Dial. “It’s time to get back to playing some games.”
In her junior campaign, Dial was named All-Conference Third Team by the Southern Conference Sports Media Association. She finished with team ranks of second in scoring (10.4,) third in rebounding (4.4,) fourth in assists, second in steals, and second in blocks. At 6-feet tall, her overall versatility is an essential piece of Mocs coach Katie Burrow’s line-up. As versatile as she is on the court, she carries the accolades to the classroom. She’s a regular member of the Southern Conference Honor Roll, Deans List, and Athletic Director’s Honor Roll. In year four, she’ll emerge as the veteran presence that often leads teams to new heights.
The Chattanooga Women’s Basketball team’s games against Tennessee State (Nov. 25,) and Tennessee Tech (Nov. 29,) have been cancelled. As of now, they are slated to take the floor in a match-up with UAB on Dec. 6 in McKenzie Arena.
In a press release from Chattanooga Athletics, they announced that no fans will be in attendance for any men’s and women’s games through the month of December. They will evaluate again as January approaches.
You can catch Dial in action on the Mocs Sports Network, WFLI 97.7 FM/ 1070 AM and online and GoMocs.com. Additionally, a full television broadcast for all games is available on ESPN+ and ESPN3.