By Sarah Catherine Baker — Staff Writer
The No. 2-ranked Fighting Irish of Notre Dame outscored the UTC women’s basketball team 79-58 in their meeting at McKenzie Arena Tuesday evening.
UTC’s second loss to Notre Dame in the past three years marked the last home non-conference game for the Mocs before their Southern Conference opener at Samford on Jan. 4.
Redshirt senior Queen Alford, Decatur, Ga., helped lead the Mocs early on in the game. Alford sank a jumper 3:55 minutes into the contest for the first points of the game for UTC. Alford later had a steal which then led to her scoring a 3-pointer in the last seconds of the first quarter. The Mocs started off the game slow trailing behind the Irish the entire first half.
“We’ve got to start games better and understand what that means. Resolve – we played harder in the three quarters.” said UTC head coach Coach Foster, who is currently in his fourth year with the Mocs.
The Mocs were able to make significant progress in the second quarter. Redshirt sophomore Shelbie Davenport, Murfreesboro, Tenn., scored a 3-pointer to get the ball rolling just seconds into the start. The All-American for Notre Dame Brianna Turner made a layup, jumper at the sound of the buzzer to push the Irish’s led to 44-29 at the half.
The second half was a slow start for both teams. Kathryn Westbeld, No. 33 for the Fighting Irish scored the first points of the second half. Alford scored the first points of the half for the Mocs when she had a steal and a layup almost three minutes in. Though the Mocs fought hard, they continued to struggle scoring while the Irish dominated the offense. Up by 18, the third quarter ended with Norte Dame in the lead 64-46.
The redshirt junior, Shumpert, continued to help lead the team in the final quarter. She scored a significant 3-pointer less than two minutes into the quarter. Despite the hard work though, the game ended with the Fighting Irish on top. The Irish controlled the board the entire game, finishing with 46 overall rebounds to UTC’s 24 overall rebounds.
Coach Foster wasn’t satisfied with the performance from his team but thought the opportunity to play a higher ranked team would help prepare them for postseason.
“This is a basketball game; go play. It’s an opportunity,” Foster said. “You’re playing against the second best team in the country. You should jump out of bed that day.”
Queen reflected on the game by saying, “That’s the biggest thing about success. You have to fail in order to be successful so I feel like in the end, we’re going to be better.” Queen had 24 points for the game, which is her high at Chattanooga and just one point shy of her career high.
Next up for UTC is a road game against Presbyterian Friday afternoon in UTC’s last non-conference match-up of the season.
Contact Sarah Catherine at email@example.com or Twitter.com/sc_baker_26