CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Despite a strong second-half fight, Appalachian State University women's basketball fell 59-55 in a heartbreaking loss to Southern Conference foe University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on Saturday at McKenzie Arena.
The Mountaineers (12-4, 6-2 SoCon) trailed by eight points (31-24) heading into the half of an intense rivalry, but continued to fight through a physical contest against the Lady Mocs (16-3, 9-1 SoCon).
Chattanooga entered the contest ready to fire, scoring its first basket off a three-pointer from Kylie Lambert to give the Lady Mocs the quick 3-0 lead.
Appalachian State responded with back-to-back jumpers to pull ahead by one (4-3), but the momentum shifted throughout the half, as the lead would change eight times in the first 20 minutes.
A fast break layup from Maryah Sydnor pulled the Mountaineers within four (28-24), but the Lady Mocs were, again, able to expand the lead to seven following a Kayla Christopher three-pointer with four seconds remaining to enter the break ahead (31-24).
Sydnor and Katie Mallow lead the Mountaineers' first half scoring with six points each, while Sydnor added four rebounds. Chattanooga would knock down four trey in the first period, with Ashlen Dewart accounting for ten of the Lady Moc's 31 points and eight of their 22 rebounds.
Chattanooga would come out shooting in the second half, opening the period with another three from Lambert to give the Lady Mocs a quick double digit lead (34-24). Raven Gary and Courtney Freemanwould keep the deficit in check over the next few minutes until Taylor Hall swished a three and sent the Lady Mocs on a quick seven point run, giving Chattanooga a 15 point lead, and their largest of the contest (44-29). The Mountaineers would answer right back as Raven Gary shot a jumper at the 15:23 mark and sent the Black & Gold on a 12 point run of their own, cutting the deficit to a single possession (44-41).
Taylor Hall released a jumper to knot the score a final time (55-55) with 1:20 left on the clock. A C. Freeman foul would send Chattanooga's Christopher to the line for two and the single possession lead (57-55). Despite outscoring Chattanooga 31-28 in the second half, the Lady Mocs would secure their victory with a final trip to the charity stripe, where Hall would count both shots for a final score of 59-55.
Taylor Hall led Chattanooga led in scoring with 15 points, while Ashlen Dewart added 12, along with 12 boards. The Lady Mocs shot 35.2 percent on the night (19-of-54), and pulled down 40 rebounds.
For the Mountaineers, Maryah Sydnor and Katie Mallow both grabbed 12 points, and Sydnor added eight boards. As a team, App State shot 36.2 percent (21-of-58) from the floor, while grabbing 38 rebounds; 24 of which came on defense.
Appalachian State rounds out its road swing at Samford on Monday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m.
Game Notes: Three Mountaineers recorded double digits, inclduing Maryah Sydnor (12), Katie Mallow (12), and Courtney Freeman (10). Anna Freeman led the Mountaineers in rebounding, pulling down 9 boards against Chattanooga. Freeman also recorded four steals against the Lady Mocs to become App State's second all-time top ten steals leader. After pulling three rebounds against Chattanooga, Kelsey Sharkey climbs a rank as the Mountaineers' No. 13 all-time rebound leader.