It took a number of rallies, but the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team managed to extend its win streak to 20 games with a 74-67 double-overtime defeat of Samford in a Southern Conference battle Monday evening in Birmingham, Ala.
The Mocs' 32nd consecutive win in conference play made them 24-3 overall and 16-0 in the SoCon. They finish the regular season with home games against Elon on Friday and UNC Greensboro on Sunday afternoon.
Taylor Hall had 20 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and four steals, but it was the big-shot abilities of Chelsey Shumpert and Alex Black that provided a huge difference.
The host Bulldogs (9-18, 7-9) took the lead midway through the second half and held a 54-49 advantage with 2:16 left to play. Black hit a pair of free throws with 1:24 left, and Shumpert split a pair with 21 seconds to go. After a Samford turnover, UTC coach Jim Foster drew up a play for Black, and the senior hit a foul-line jumper to send the game into overtime.
The Bulldogs led 60-58 lead in the first overtime, but Shumpert nailed a 3-pointer. Samford's Lydia McGee hit a pair of free throws with 35 seconds to go to put her team back on top, but the Mocs' Ka'Vonne Towns was fouled with 15 seconds remaining and hit the first of two free throws to force a second session.
Shumpert had six points in the final overtime, including a backbreaking 3-pointer that broke a 67-all tie with 1:23. Samford's Hannah Nichols missed a 3 on the ensuing possession, and Black answered with a short jumper that put the game away.
The Mocs improved to 12-2 on the road.
"Samford's a good basketball team. They are probably playing as well as anybody in the league," Foster said on the postgame radio broadcast. "They have gotten their act together. They run their offense very well and are very disciplined. You've got to keep that and match that.
"I thought as the game progressed, we got better at it. I thought at the end, a lot of people made big shots and we got some big stops."
Black added three steals, while Shumpert had seven rebounds. Jasmine Joyner had eight points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in 36 minutes.
Northwest Whitfield product Christy Robinson had 22 points and seven rebounds for Samford. Hannah Nichols had 12, while McGee added 11. Gordon Lee graduate Kassidy Blevins had nine points and seven rebounds.
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