CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The Elon women’s basketball team was not able to make a mark on Tennessee-Chattanooga’s perfect conference season, falling to the Lady Mocs, 69-55, in McKenzie Arena tonight, Feb. 28. The Phoenix falls to 13-15 on the season and 9-8 in SoCon play, while the Lady Mocs improves to 25-3 overall and remains a perfect 17-0 in league play.
“I think their defensive intensity and pressure took us out of our rhythm tonight,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “They did a tremendous job of slowing us down. We wanted to play at a fast pace and push the tempo. We unfortunately had to play at a slower tempo because we weren’t as aggressive as we wanted to be.”
The Phoenix went 20-of-49 from the field to shoot 41 percent, while UTC shot 42 percent after a 26-of-62 performance and scored 40 points in the paint. Both teams finished only 20 percent from beyond the arc with four total threes in the game and each claimed 74 percent mark from the charity stripe. The Lady Mocs won the rebounding battle, 39-33, and forced 21 turnovers
Rookie Jenifer Rhodes led Elon with 16 points off eight field goals and pulled down a team-high eight rebounds. Kelsey Harris finished with 10 points after a 6-of-7 performance from the line, while Lauren Brown handed out a game-high seven assists.
The Phoenix started the game on an 8-2 run with the help of six points from Rhodes. After the Lady Mocs took its first lead of the game, 14-13, Harris finished off an old-fashioned three-point play to regain the lead by two with under 10 minutes left on the clock. A three by Zora Stephenson with five minutes remaining gave the maroon and gold its largest lead of the half, 25-18, before UTC managed to score seven straight and even the game. The Lady Mocs used an Ashlen Dewart layup with five seconds left in the half to take a 33-31 lead at the break.
Elon finished the first frame with a 48 percent mark from the field, including 33 percent from three, and held the advantage on the boards, 18-16. The Lady Mocs went 44 percent in the half and shot 29 percent from long distance, while also forcing 11 Phoenix turnovers.
UTC continued the momentum into the second half, forcing an Elon timeout at the 17:49 mark after moving to a 39-33 advantage. The Phoenix struggled to hit shots down the stretch as the Lady Mocs took a 21-point lead, 63-44, with 5:31 left on the clock. Elon would cut its deficit to 12, 67-55, with a minute remaining but it was too late for the maroon and gold to make a comeback as Chattanooga outscored the Phoenix, 36-24 in the second 20.
Elon will play its final game of the regular season on Sunday, March 2, at Samford in Birmingham, Ala. Tip is set for 3 p.m. (EST).