STATESBORO, Ga. - J'Lisia Ogburn and Jessica Geiger jogged a victory lap and high-fived front-row patrons of Hanner Fieldhouse on their way to the Georgia Southern locker room.
The Eagles escaped with a 66-65 win over the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to snap a seven-game losing streak to the Lady Mocs and end the longest Southern Conference winning streak at 27 games.
The Lady Mocs had their chances to win in the final minute and earlier had opportunities that would have forced the Eagles to come back in the final minute. UTC made only eight of 18 free throws and were outrebounded 33-25.
"We had a lot of breakdowns but I'm proud that we fought back," UTC coach Wes Moore said. "They hit shots all day long, and that last one doesn't happen if we get a rebound."
The Lady Mocs had a one-point lead with 21 seconds left to play after Shanara Hollinquest converted a three-point play.
But Jamie Navarro hit a turnaround jumper to put GSU up again with six seconds to play. Both teams then had turnovers, resulting in a running jumper by UTC freshman Andrea Neil at the buzzer.
"The last few moments, without any timeouts, was a mess," Moore said. "The ball was far enough down the sideline that maybe we should have run a side play and tried to get a shot that way."
Junior forward Jenaya Wade-Fray scored a season-high 21 points for the Lady Mocs (9-6, 5-1), and Hollinquest added 20 with nine rebounds and three steals. Erin Ogan also had three steals and scored 11 points, and LaCondra Mason tallied 10.
Ashley Rivens led the Eagles (9-5, 4-1) with 17 points, and Ogburn had 12.
"To get a win, I don't care who it's against, it's wonderful," GSU coach Rusty Cram said. "But to beat Chattanooga ... it was just a great game."
The few dozen UTC fans who made the trip for the doubleheader stood and cheered after Ogan hit a 3-pointer to pull the Lady Mocs within 48-47. That was the closest UTC had been since the final five minutes of the first half, and GSU called a timeout.
Moore was next to call a timeout after the Eagles inched further head with two UTC turnovers and two misses. They owned a 62-52 lead with 3:12 to play, setting up the dramatic finish.
"This is disappointing," Wade-Fray said. "I don't think we played to our ability."
The Lady Mocs led 13-6 less than six minutes into the game, but they scored only 14 points the rest of the first half.
GSU crept closer with its motion offense that milked the shot clock and resulted in three backdoor layups. Defensively, the Eagles were quick to double-team Hollinquest in the post and survived with UTC missing its last eight 3-pointers of the first half.
GSU closed the first half on a 12-4 run and led 35-27 at the break after outrebounding UTC 20-11.
It was the fifth time this season the Lady Mocs trailed at halftime. They rallied to win three of those games.
They almost did it a fourth time.
"One dang rebound," Moore said while sitting in the last row and watching the men's pregame. "One more free throw."