Samford extends UTC's new streak to two losses

Samford extends UTC's new streak to two losses

January 24th, 2016 by Gene Henley in Sports - College

UTC women's basketball coach Jim Foster shouts instructions during last weekend's home win over UNC Greensboro. His Mocs lost Saturday at Samford.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

Jim Foster was not pleased Saturday afternoon.

His University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team had just suffered its second consecutive Southern Conference loss, 48-43 to Samford in the Pete Hanna Center in Birmingham, Ala.

After 51 consecutive conference regular-season victories, the Mocs have suffered back-to-back losses in SoCon play for the first time since losing at Appalachian State and Davidson in January 2012.

UTC (13-7, 4-2) will be back on the road next Saturday to face East Tennessee State, which handed Mercer its first league loss Saturday.

UTC shot 35 percent against the Bulldogs and made only one of its seven 3-point attempts. Keiana Gilbert had a team-high 10 points, with five rebounds and four steals. Jasmine Joyner scored nine points and added 12 rebounds and four blocked shots, moving into second all-time in SoCon history in blocks.

A big difference in the game was at the foul line. The Mocs made six of their seven attempts, while Samford hit 16 of 20.

The Bulldogs (12-8, 4-1) were led by Amara Meyers' 18 points. Taylor Reece added 14 while Gordon Lee graduate Kassidy Blevins had a team-high four assists.

"I was extremely proud of our team and the way we played," Samford coach Mike Morris said. "I was proud of the way we defended. In the second half I thought we were much better offensively — we got some good looks.

"I'm just super proud of the way our team competed and played."

The Bulldogs were 10-of-16 from the field in the second half. A number of those shots were wide-open layups. Samford didn't make a 3-pointer the entire game but used passes and cuts to free players for uncontested shots. A couple of those came at key points, as the Mocs trailed by only a point headed into the fourth quarter but saw the home team reel off seven consecutive points to start the period.

By the time Alicia Payne hit a floater from the left side, the Mocs were down 40-34 and were never able to get any closer than four.

UTC was 10-of-32 in the second half.

Foster said in the postgame radio broadcast that he didn't go into the locker room after the loss, saying his piece during the final timeouts of the game.

"They need to do a little reflecting, a little soul-searching," he said. "Samford, they are who they are. They're going to play a certain way and try to out-tough you mentally. They're going to make the same cuts throughout the course of the game, and it's something that if they do it 40 times in the game, you as a defender have to jump to the ball 40 times.

"It's those little things that when you play somebody like this, they just come back on a daily basis. That's who you are; you're someone who does not play consistently and doesn't take care of the details necessary."

The Mocs have averaged 49 points in four SoCon road games, as opposed to 74.5 in two league games at McKenzie Arena.

"We know what our weaknesses are," Foster said. "We know we're not a good shooting team, we know we're not a very good 3-point-shooting team, but there's other ways to score in the game of basketball. We have to have some players that are willing to take midrange shots that they're very capable of making.

"Between the ears we have to do a lot of growing. Someone, quite frankly, needs to establish (herself) going forward as a player that others respect and listen to them.

"We will get better."

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