Game 1 - Chattanooga 85, Western Carolina 41
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The top-seeded Chattanooga Mocs rolled to an 85-41 win over No. 8 seed Western Carolina in the opening game of the Southern Conference Women’s Basketball Championships presented by General Shale. Chattanooga was led by Jasmine Joyner’s 14 points, nine rebounds and five blocks.
It was all Mocs from the outset scoring a season-high 30 points in the first quarter. Leading 14-8 with a little under five minutes left in the opening frame, they closed the quarter with a 16-0 run for a 30-8 advantage.
WCU scored the first basket of the second quarter, but was held to one field goal over almost seven minutes. UTC’s 13-3 spurt over that span built the margin to 30, 43-13, on Chelsey Shumpert’s layup.
Sherae Bonner’s layup cut the margin to 28, but that’s as close as it would get for the Catamounts. A layup from Shelbie Davenport 32 seconds later put the lead back at 30 before heading into halftime up 49-15.
It reached 40 on two Queen Alford free throws in quarter number three. The 50-point mark was exceeded on a Nakeia Burks fourth-quarter three. Moses Johnson gave the Mocs their largest advantage of 52, 85-33, 88 seconds later.
The Cats closed the fourth frame with eight unanswered points. Tembre Moates ended the scoring with a jumper off a dish from Lauren LaPlant with a minute to play.
Joyner was joined in double figures by Davenport, with whom she shared game-high honors at 14, and Shumpert with 12. Bonner and Raziyah Farrington each tallied eight to pace the Cats.
The Mocs meet the winner of (4) UNCG and (5) Furman in Thursday’s second game. Tipoff is at 11 a.m.
Chattanooga (19-10) | Western Carolina (8-22)
Chattanooga: 23-5 advantage in points off turnovers despite just a +1 turnover margin (14/15).
Western Carolina: Limited to 31.1 percent (19-61) shooting from the field, 8.3 percent (1-12) from 3pt range.
Chattanooga: 13th straight SoCon Tournament victory…14-1 since the championships moved to Asheville in 2012.
Western Carolina: Junior guard Jontay Mitchem recorded four steals. It’s the 10th time this season she’s recorded multiple steals in a contest, third time with four or more.
Game 2 - UNCG 68, Furman 63
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Fourth-seeded UNCG claimed a 68-63 win over No. 5 Furman in the quarterfinals of the Southern Conference Women’s Basketball Championships presented by General Shale. The Spartans trailed by as many as 17 in the opening quarter before turning the tables on the Paladins.
It was a nine-point game with 6:05 to go in the third when UNCG made its move. An 11-0 run put the Spartans up 53-51, their first lead of the game, on two Mariah Wilson free throws. The two squads traded layups to end the third with the four seed ahead by two.
Baskets by Nadine Soliman and Bailey Williams gave UNCG its largest advantage of six, 59-53, with 8:41 to go. DeAnneisha Jackson ended a 1-9 shooting skid for the Paladins with a layup at 7:49. That ignited a 7-0 run that put Furman ahead 60-59, on another Jackson layup with 5:05 remaining.
Te’ja Twitty gave the Spartans the lead for good with a layup with 2:04 left. The two squads traded empty possessions before Alexis Pitchford made it a three-point game, 66-63, with two free throws at 20.3 on the clock.
UNCG had two fouls to give and used them both. When the Paladins were finally able to get into an offensive set, they got an open look. Cierra Carter came off a screen with a 3pt attempt, but it was awry. Williams claimed the board and made two free throws with 4.1 left to set the final score.
After trailing 30-13 inside 30 seconds left in the first quarter, the Spartans dominated play the rest of the game. It out-scored Furman 55-33 over the final 30:29. They locked down defensively allowing the Paladins to shoot just 33.3 percent (14-42) over that pivotal stretch.
The Spartans advance to Friday’s semifinals facing No. 1 seed Chattanooga. Game time is at 11 a.m.
UNCG (17-13) | Furman (14-17)
UNCG: 19-4 advantage in second chance points out-rebounding the Paladins 42 to 29. The Spartans had 18 offensive boards to Furman’s five.
Furman: The Paladins led by as many as 17 in the first quarter shooting 69.2 percent from the floor, 66.7 percent (4-6) from 3pt range and 100 percent (8-8) at the free throw line.
UNCG: First trip to SoCon semifinals since 2006. Reached the finals losing 91-79 to Chattanooga in North Charleston, S.C.
Furman: The Paladins are 5-12 this season when scoring 63 or fewer points, 9-5 tallying 64 or higher.
UNCG improves to 24-23 all-time against the Paladins…3-3 in SoCon Tourney including last two meetings (2013).