Taylor Hall made plays all over the court in the second half Saturday to lead the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team to perhaps its best win of the season.
Hall scored 14 points in the final 11 minutes, dove and fought for loose balls and exemplified the energy the Lady Mocs needed to beat Southern Conference co-leader Davidson 55-48 at McKenzie Arena.
"I can't ever question her hustle and effort," Lady Mocs coach Wes Moore said of Hall, who finished with a game-high 16 points and 10 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season.
The Lady Mocs (20-8, 15-4) entered the game still mathematically alive for the SoCon title. Appalachian State, now alone in first place after Davidson's defeat, put an end to UTC's hopes with a win at Samford. The Mountaineers visit UTC on Monday to close out the regular season.
Saturday's win gave Moore his 12th 20-win season in 14 seasons at UTC.
"I'm proud of that -- we've done it 12 out of 13 years," he said, while also admitting that he should probably appreciate the success more. But after winning 11 straight SoCon titles, not winning the last two really bothers him.
The Lady Mocs' defense Saturday drew rave reviews from Moore.
"I thought defensively our kids were great," he said. "They just took away [Davidson's] top options and helped each other."
Despite UTC shooting just 25.8 percent from the field, while getting outrebounded 26-16, Davidson (20-8, 16-3) had only a 25-23 lead at halftime.
Actually, the score was 25-22 when halftime began, but the officials looked at the video replay of a Ka'Vonne Towns shot late in the half and changed it to a 3-pointer.
Hall said Moore got after the team to just shoot in the second half. The players responded by hitting 13 of 27 second-half shots.
"We started to knock down some shots and it helped us," said Hall, who hit three second-half 3-pointers.
Around the midpoint of the second half, with Davidson up 33-31, Moore went with a small lineup that proved effective. With Whitney Hood and Faith Dupree on the bench, the Lady Mocs took a lead they would never relinquish on a Hall 3 that sparked an 8-0 run.
Key plays from Hood and Kylie Lambert down the stretch helped the Lady Mocs pull away for good. They finished with 10 points apiece.
Laura Murray and Barbara Sitton led Davidson with 12 and 11 points.
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 ...