Kylie Lambert of UTC, left, is blocked by Courtney Freeman of Appalachian State as Kayla Christopher tries to get open during their Southern Conference game Monday at McKenzie Arena.Staff photo by Jenna Walker
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball program's record-setting Southern Conference championship run officially came to an end Monday night at McKenzie Arena.
But the Lady Mocs went down kicking and screaming.
Appalachian State's Kelsey Sharkey scored on a putback with 11 seconds left to lift the Mountaineers to a 57-56 win. UTC had two possessions in the final 9.2 seconds but failed to score.
"We did have many chances, but we just couldn't get it together," said UTC's Kylie Lambert, who had 11 points and nine rebounds.
The Mountaineers (21-4, 15-2) clinched at least a share of the SoCon regular-season title and ended UTC's streak of 11 consecutive championships.
After losing a hard-fought game that had the feel of a conference tournament matchup, UTC coach Wes Moore said poor defensive rebounding proved costly.
"I thought our kids, defensively, fought and battled and hung in there. Again, rebounding is an area that's still haunting us, and obviously that's what really was the difference in the game.," said Moore, whose Lady Mocs (13-13, 10-7) will close out their regular season with three road games.
Appalachian State won just nine games in the 2008-09 season, Darcie Vincent's first as coach. The Mountaineers won 23 games last season and have been the SoCon's dominant team throughout this season.
Monday's win was ASU's 11th in a row and locked up the No. 1 seed in next month's conference tournament, which will be played at the Roundhouse.
"We're not winning pretty, we're not winning big, but we're winning," Vincent said.
UTC led 56-55 with 36 seconds left after Tenisha Townsend inbounded the ball to Taylor Hall, who hit a quick 6-footer. Hall finished with eight points and 11 rebounds (seven offensive) in 19 minutes off the bench.
Following an ASU timeout, Sam Ramirez missed a fallaway baseline jumper, but Sharkey was able to move through the middle of the lane and put back the miss to give the Mountaineers the lead.
Kayla Christopher came up short on a 14-foot jumper on UTC's next possession, and the Lady Mocs didn't get a shot off after getting the ball back.
Bailey Dewart and Kayla Christopher scored 10 points each for UTC, while Anna Freeman's game-high 14 points led ASU.
The Lady Mocs finished 7-of-13 from the free-throw line, including a pair of misses by Hall with 1:29 left. Appalachian State was 9-for-12 from the line and outscored UTC 32-16 in the paint.
After losing 26 straight times to UTC, the Mountaineers swept the season series.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...