UTC women dominate at Georgia State to start six-game road swing

Staff photo by Olivia Ross / UTC's Raven Thompson splits King University's Aroa Garcia (34) and Tori Smiley as she shoots during Saturday's game at McKenzie Arena. Thompson, a freshman, had 23 points and 10 rebounds to help UTC win 74-60 at Georgia State on Wednesday night in her hometown of Atlanta.

Raven Thompson continued her hot play of late in a return to her hometown, and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team won its fourth straight game, dominating Georgia State 74-60 on Wednesday night in Atlanta.

The Mocs (6-3) will play their second of six straight road games when they face Alabama at 1 p.m. Saturday at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa.

Thompson, a 5-foot-10 freshman, played at Langston Hughes High, which is about 20 minutes away from the Georgia State campus. She was triumphant in her return, with 23 points and 10 rebounds to lead four UTC scorers in double figures. Yazz Wareerud-Din had 19 points, six rebounds and six assists, Abbey Cornelius 14 points and six rebounds, and Addie Porter 13 points, four rebounds and three assists.

The Mocs shot a season-high 54% from the field and made seven 3s.

"Raven is playing with a lot of confidence," UTC coach Shawn Poppie said on the postgame radio broadcast. "Not only because of herself, but her teammates; they're boosting her and saying, 'Come on, you've got it.' We're asking a lot and she's taking it with two hands and not letting go of it.

"She's such a mismatch, a guard put in a forward's body, but she's got the strength even though she may be undersized to get on there and mess with with them a little bit. She got off to a wonderful start for us and continued on."

The Mocs scored on the game's first possession, with Sigrun Olaffsdottir connecting on a 3-pointer that would turn into a 12-0 run. The Panthers (4-5) were able to hang relatively close in the second quarter and trail by just nine at the break, then cut the lead to 43-37 late in the third quarter, but the Mocs responded by connecting on four straight shots in a 12-2 run to end the period.

The lead hung in the range of 15-20 points in the fourth quarter until the end.

After Saturday's game, the Mocs will play at Tennessee (Dec. 6), North Alabama (Dec. 15), Ohio (Dec. 18) and Marshall (Dec. 21) before their next home game, Dec. 29 against Jacksonville State.

"I told our locker room that 6-3 sounds good," Poppie said, noting the three losses were by a combined 10 points and came despite fourth-quarter leads for the Mocs. "We wish we were a little bit better because we had some chances, but that's in the past. The road looks daunting, but we'll take it one at a time.

"I like that locker room when we're together and bought in. Let's head down to Alabama and see what we've got."

Compiled by Gene Henley. Contact him at ghenley@timesfreepress.com.