UTC women win
Lakelyn Bouldin started hot, then made some big plays down the stretch to lead the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team to an 89-82 Southern Conference win over Wofford on Thursday night.
For UTC (7-10, 2-0), the high-scoring night at McKenzie Arena was highlighted by Bouldin finishing with 26 points on 11-of-23 shooting and grabbing 12 rebounds as the former Van Buren County standout posted her first double-double as a college player. With 12 points in the first quarter, the junior guard surpassed the 900-point mark for her Mocs career and now has scored 915 points at UTC.
"Honestly, I don't even care about that," Bouldin said. "As long as we're winning and playing good ball, that's all I care about."
Wofford (10-8, 2-1) led 7-2 less than three minutes into the game, but Bouldin scored 12 of the Mocs' next 18 points to put them up for good while also grabbing three rebounds and getting one of her five assists for the night in the same stretch.
"The first couple or three minutes of the game, we weren't going to the boards and I got very frustrated," Mocs coach Katie Burrows said. "I challenged the team to go to the offensive boards, and you see what (Bouldin) did. She went out and got four (offensive rebounds for the game)."
UTC outrebounded Wofford 47-38 in the game.
Supporting Bouldin on her big night was freshman Eboni Williams, who just missed a double-double by scoring 19 points, her most as a Moc, and grabbing nine rebounds. Sophomore Brooke Burns scored 16 points and recorded her collegiate high with seven assists.
"At first I thought I was rushing it and taking quick shots," Williams said. "Then my coaches talked me down and told me to slow down, then I started getting my shot and not pushing it."
The Mocs put up an eye-popping 76 shots against Wofford, which did its best to match the pace by taking 70. UTC was 10-for-22 from 3-point range and 9-for-12 on free throws.
But it was Bouldin who sealed the win late, turning a one-point lead into a five-point margin with two key rebounds and two huge points in the paint in the final 1:14.
"We look to Lakelyn a lot because she has so much stuff she can do," Burrows said. "It's not just 3s, and it's not just pull-ups. She's got these up-and-unders, she can pump fake and do so many things. In high school she had to do all those things, so she's used to it."
Wofford was led by Jamari McDavid and Chloe Wanink with 18 points each, McDavid with nine rebounds. Cairo Booker scored 16 points and Da'Ja added 13 with five assists for the Terriers, who dropped to 49-2 all time against UTC and are without a win in the series since 1999.
Burrows said she was proud of her team, which takes a three-game winning streak into Saturday's 2 p.m. home matchup against Furman after snapping an eight-game losing streak in late December. But she wants better effort on defense after the Mocs allowed a season-most 82 points five days after beating East Tennessee State 76-67 to open SoCon play.
"It does feel like we're getting better, especially on the offensive end, which is where we've struggled," she said. "Now, we can't take steps back defensively, because all year long I've felt our defense has kept us in things and the last two games we've given up too many points."