In a game that more closely resembled a battle for first place than a middle-of-the-pack matchup, Chattanooga took advantage of ETSU’s foul-depleted post situation and walked out of Brooks Gym with a 91-82 triple-overtime victory in a Southern Conference women’s basketball game Saturday.
Chattanooga (5-16) won for just the fifth time all season, but improved to 4-3 in league play. ETSU (7-15) saw its conference mark fall to 2-5.
“Kaia Upton played 55 minutes and Micah Scheetz played 54,” said ETSU head coach Brittney Ezell, who had just nine healthy players on the roster. “They’re just so tough.
“If people only knew what these kids go through every day just to put on that uniform and play, these stands would be packed. What they are doing is admirable. The won-loss record is not there, but it’s not about that right now. It’s about these kids continuing to give effort for a university they love.”
ETSU scored first to take an 80-78 lead, but things went downhill quickly. With Ti Kimbro and E’Lease Stafford already fouled out, Shynia Jackson was in her 43rd minute of court time when she picked up her fifth foul.
The Mocs’ halfcourt offense became laser focused on throwing it to the post for a big advantage. There was very little ETSU could do to try to stop it.
“I said, ‘Do your best to front and try to allow some ball pressure,’ Ezell said. “There’s not much we could do once it goes down there. They’re either going to get a two-foot score or we foul them. I thought we did a great job to start the third overtime, jumping out in a press and getting a steal. We tried to do something, but smoke and mirrors only last so long.”
Chattanooga scored nine straight points to take an 87-80 lead with just over two minutes left in the period, and the outcome was no longer in doubt.
ETSU tied the game twice, but each time Chattanooga responded.
The Bucs got even a third time at 78-78 on a pair of free throws by Scheetz with 51 seconds left. Chattanooga missed a layup and ETSU held for the last shot.
A charging foul gave the ball back to the Mocs, but Chattanooga’s Eboni Williams missed a baseline jumper at the buzzer.
Stafford put the Bucs ahead 68-66, hitting a 3-pointer with 24 seconds left on the clock. But on the other end, Williams dropped in a pair of free throws to tie the game.
The Bucs were unable to get a shot off prior to the buzzer.
ETSU came out strong, scoring six points on assisted baskets and cutting Chattanooga’s lead to 51-49.
Down by five, 58-53 with under two minutes to go, the Bucs came to life. Stafford tied the game on a layup with 14 seconds left.
Chattanooga missed a point-blank layup with five seconds remaining, and the Bucs had a chance for the win. Scheetz got into the lane for a scoop shot that bounced on the rim twice before falling off.
“I thought it touched nylon,” said Ezell. “I thought it went down and came out. You’ve got your go-to scorer taking that shot. That’s all we could ask for. Sometimes you make it and sometimes you miss.
“I thought the players showed a lot of resilience to fight back after that shot came out. It would have been real easy to be deflated.”
For ETSU, Scheetz led the way with 20 points and seven assists. Jackson had 19 points, eight rebounds and three assists.
Upton had 16 points and six assists while Stafford totaled 16 points.
Chattanooga got a monster game from Williams. She finished with 25 points and 16 rebounds while also totaling three steals.
Teammate Bria Dial added 21 points while Abbey Cornelius finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Lakelyn Bouldin had 13 points and seven rebounds.
Chattanooga had four players total over 50 minutes on the court.
ETSU plays host to Western Carolina on Thursday at 7 p.m.