The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team lost 71-65 at Eastern Kentucky on Sunday, with the Mocs' sixth straight defeat dropping them to 1-8, but coach Katie Burrows saw signs of life in her team that might reap benefits moving forward.
UTC overcame a slow start to take the lead in the second half before the Colonels (5-2) made more plays in the final minutes to escape, but Burrows focused on the fight her Mocs displayed.
"That's the most fire and grit I've seen from my team all season," Burrows, who was not pleased with her team's passion in Wednesday's loss to Northern Colorado, said in a UTC release. "They gave us everything they had tonight but came up short."
Eboni Williams recorded her fifth double-double of the season with a season-best 23 points and 11 rebounds. Also in double digits in points for the Mocs were Lakelyn Bouldin with 12 and NaKeia Burks with 10.
Eastern Kentucky's De'ayra Davis matched Williams for the game high in points, Bria Bass added 17 and I'Liyah Green pulled down a game-best 14 boards.
UTC shot 60% in the second quarter and pulled to within two points by halftime. UTC was down 30-23 with just more than two minutes to play in the frame and outscored the Colonels 8-3 down the stretch to make it 33-31.
Bouldin scored seven points in the quarter, including a four-point play that cut the Colonels' lead to 26-21, the closest UTC had been since early in the first. The Mocs maintained their momentum into the third quarter, building a 51-44 lead two minutes in on back-to-back 3-pointers from Burks.
The Colonels, however, used an 8-0 run to turn the game around. They were up 65-59 with less than a minute to play when Burks hit two free throws before combining with Bouldin to force a turnover that led to Williams' layup with 39 seconds left to cut the lead to two.
Eastern Kentucky scored the next six points to secure the win.
UTC went 24-of-63 from the field, made seven 3-pointers, was 10-of-16 on free throws and outrebounded the Colonels 46-34.
"This was a much brighter light for me," Burrows said. "I hate losing and I'm not going to go in there with a smile on my face. They battled their hearts out tonight and still came up short. We're going to figure out how to not come up short in the next one."
The Mocs return to competition next Sunday at 3 p.m. EST at UT-Martin.