By Parris Clarke, Staff Writer-
The Chattanooga Mocs women’s basketball team finished up a two-game road trip this weekend against the Mercer Bears. The Lady Mocs rallied on Saturday, finishing up the series with a win after falling short during Thursday’s contest.
Game one saw UTC falling to Mercer by a score of 50-42 — a defensive battle that was uncharacteristic for a UTC team that averages 66.4 points per game.
Early on, neither team could buy a bucket — a sign of things to come — as both teams crept into a 20-20 halftime tie.
Coming out of half the Lady Mocs were looking for a spark and turned to their 2-3 zone defense to help pull them out of their funk. This decision proved to be detrimental, as Mercer went on an 11-4 run to start the third quarter.
UTC showed resistance, however, clawing back in the fourth quarter. Eboni Willians hit an and-one to take the lead 40-38 with 4:02 left in the game. This would be the Lady Mocs’ last field goal as Mercer erupted to go on a 12-2 run and close out the game.
Rebounding was the achilles heel for UTC down the stretch. Six of Mercer’s 12 final points came from the offensive rebounding variety.
“Bottom line, offensive rebounds,” coach Katie Burrows said. “We gave up offensive rebounds. We told them that’s what the key to this game is and we still didn’t get it done.”
A different UTC team showed up to play on Saturday. The team flipped a switch and had major success from inside the paint. They scored 42 points in the paint compared to only 24 for Mercer.
The paint dominance wasn’t just on the offensive end either. Williams had a stellar defensive game down low. She finished with two steals, a block and a flurry of deflections that really disrupted the Mercer offensive.
Burrows challenged her team after the poor performance two nights before and was proud of how they responded.
“Can’t express enough just the fight that they still have in them,” Burrows said. “When I challenge them, they step up to the challenge. We just have to start out that way. It was vice-versa at Furman, started out real strong and deflated. Now we just have to put two games together.”
Burrows’s squad will have a chance to put that newfound fortitude to the test as they head out for another two-game road trip starting this Thursday against Wofford.