Most everything was working for Taylor Hall on Monday night in the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's 67-52 Southern Conference women's basketball win over Georgia Southern at McKenzie Arena.
The sophomore knocked down shots and chased down rebounds, finishing with a career-high 19 points and 15 rebounds, which matched a career high, for her fifth double-double of the season.
"They were kind of doubling Hoodie [Whitney Hood] and she does a great job kicking the ball out, so I had some open looks," said Hall, who was 7-of-14 from the field.
Hall had been bothered by a sprained finger on her right (shooting) hand, and a decrease in tape on the hand led to an increase in accuracy with her shots.
In 25 games this season, her first full one after joining UTC midway through last season, Hall has grabbed 10 or more rebounds 12 times. She came into Monday's game second in the Southern Conference with 8.7 per game (9.3 in league play).
"Taylor on the boards is unbelievable," Lady Mocs coach Wes Moore said. "I don't know why we don't have more people join her in the party. Her and Kylie Lambert in particular, they go hard every night to the boards."
Lambert finished with five points and seven rebounds.
Hood had a big game also, scoring 11 points in the first half as UTC (18-6, 13-2) took control against the struggling Eagles (7-18, 3-13). She also made some key baskets late, finishing with 17 points, as the Lady Mocs fought off a Georgia Southern rally.
Hood was feeling it so much that she even hit the first 3-pointer of her UTC career. She'd missed her first seven tries, including four this season, after going 1-of-2 from 3-point range during her two seasons at Clemson.
The 3 came midway through the first half and gave UTC a 20-12 lead.
Hood said she knew that was her first 3, which is why she gave it a few fist pumps after it went down.
"Usually the aim's there; it's just a matter of her getting it up," Moore said of Hood's 3-point shooting.
The Lady Mocs shot a high percentage -- they hit 10 of their first 20 shots -- and after several attempts were able to pull away from the Eagles late in the opening half. UTC was 5-of-8 from 3-point range and led 35-22 at the break.
Kayla Christopher's second 3 of the game moved her into a tie with Jan Cameron (1991-94) for fifth all-time at UTC with 161 career 3s. The Lady Mocs were 6-of-9 on 3s at one point and finished 8-of-17, after going 4-of-23 in Saturday's win over the College of Charleston.
"It was great to see the shots fall," Moore said.
UTC was in control of the game throughout the second half -- its largest lead was 24 points -- but the Eagles were able to cut the margin to nine, 57-48, with 3:38 remaining.
Hood pushed the lead back to 13 with an offensive rebound and a powerful drive to the basket. Tenisha Townsend then hit a pair of free throws with 2:32 to play to make it 61-48.
Jordi Cook and Meredyth Frye scored 12 points to lead the Eagles, who have dropped six straight games.
The Lady Mocs remain in third place in the SoCon standings with four games remaining. They visit Western Carolina on Saturday.
Contact John Frierson at email@example.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...