Lady Mocs roll past Samford

photo Lady Mocs junior Kylie Lambert is covered by Samford's Shelby Campbell, left, and Ruth Ketcham, right, during a game at McKenzie arena on Wednesday.

Samford women's basketball coach Mike Morris was able to tease the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's Wes Moore following the Lady Mocs' 74-68 win Wednesday night at McKenzie Arena.

"Hood for two," Morris said over and over again, referring to UTC senior forward Whitney Hood.

Hood scored 21 points, going 8-for-12 from the field and 5-for-5 from the free-throw line in the reigning Southern Conference player of the week's third straight game with at least 21 points.

"We couldn't slow her down," Morris said. "We know they're going to Hood, we know what they're going to do, but it doesn't matter because she's that good."

The SoCon-leading Lady Mocs (13-4, 8-0) hit 50 percent of their shots, but helped Samford (10-7, 5-3) stay close late by struggling at the free-throw line. UTC came in shooting a league-best 76.1 percent from the line, and hit its first 10 free throws, but a 4-for-11 stretch in the final 5:17 gave the Bulldogs life.

UTC finished 16-of-23 from the line, while Samford was 3-of-3.

Samford limited UTC to just seven offensive rebounds, well below the Lady Mocs' average of 12.1, but a pivotal Hood three-point play was the result of two offensive rebounds.

Kylie Lambert (12 points, seven rebounds) rebounded a Kayla Christopher miss, which was followed by an air-ball 3-point attempt from Christopher. Ka'Vonne Towns grabbed the miss under the basket and flipped the ball to Hood, who scored and drew a foul.

The three-point play put UTC up 61-54 with 6:41 remaining.

"This game really meant a lot to us," Hood said, "because of course they put us out of the [SoCon] tournament last year, so there was a lot of determination in this game."

Tenisha Townsend hit the biggest shot of the game with 46 seconds left. As the shot clock ticked down, Christopher passed the ball toward Townsend, but it was tipped by a Samford defender.

Townsend was able to retrieve the loose ball and fire up a 24-footer that swished just before the buzzer, giving UTC a 70-61 advantage.

"It was deep, it was huge -- it gave us a little momentum down the stretch to finish things out," said Christopher, who had 12 points.

Samford, which hit 11 3s, got its last one from leading scorer Paige Anderson (16 points) with seven seconds left to cut UTC's lead to 72-68. Moments later, Alex Black sank a pair of free throws to secure the Lady Mocs' 11 win in their last 12 games.

"We missed a few [free throws] tonight, especially down the stretch, but we were able to get away with it," Moore said.

UTC begins its toughest road trip of the season Saturday when it visits defending SoCon champion Appalachian State (12-3, 6-1), followed by a trip to Davidson (11-6, 7-1) on Monday.