Chattanooga 64, Davidson 63
Kayla Christopher had one bit of advice for her Chattanooga
teammates coming out of the huddle in the final frantic seconds –
crash the boards.
The Lady Mocs had 21 offensive rebounds, but none bigger than
Christopher’s putback with 8.2 seconds remaining that lifted
Chattanooga to a 64-63 victory over Davidson in the Southern
Conference championship Monday.
”I’ve been dreaming about this day for a month now and
imagining what it would be like,” Christopher said. ”For it to
actually come true is just awesome.”
It was Chattanooga’s ninth conference championship in 13 years
under Wes Moore.
But Moore said this one is special, particularly because it’s
been three years since his team has been back to the NCAA
The 11-point deficit was the largest Chattanooga has overcome
”These girls just don’t quit,” Moore said. ”We felt some
pressure out there. You just can’t help it. You look at the things
we did on a day when it was tough to score, it’s all about heart.
It was all about work ethic and being relentless. We just kept
coming at them and they were finally rewarded with eight seconds
The Lady Mocs (29-3) enter the NCAA tournament riding a 19-game
”I think we have a team that can compete in the NCAA Tournament
now that we got through this,” Moore said.
Chattanooga trailed throughout the second half until Christopher
grabbed an offensive rebound on the weak side after two missed
shots and put it in for the go-ahead score to deny Davidson its
first trip to the NCAA tournament.
”She’s been so important this team,” Dewart said. ”Kayla’s
last layup is just the cherry on top. I was worried for about a
half second after I missed my shots.”
Taylor Hall had 19 points and tournament MVP Dewart was a force
inside with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Davidson junior Laura Murray, who had a game-high 22 points,
missed a 15-footer at the buzzer.
Sophia Aleksandravicius, the two-time Southern Conference player
of the year, had 18 points on 8 of 11 shooting and grabbed 11
rebounds for Davidson.
Davidson (21-11) shot 54 percent from the field to Chattanooga’s
36 percent, but the Wildcats’ 19 turnovers proved costly.
With the game tied at 58, Murray knocked down a 3-pointer from
the left wing and then scored on an acrobatic drive down the right
side of the lane to give the Wildcats a five-point lead with 2:13
But Hall, who had 12 points in the second half and kept
Chattanooga in the game, hit a pair of free throws and scored on a
drive of her own to pull the Lady Mocs to 63-62 with 40 seconds
As Davidson was working on the clock Murray was called for an
illegal screen, giving Chattanooga the ball with 25 seconds to
Davidson had one final change to win the game and Chattanooga
came out with a full-court press.
Murray got the ball up the floor and had a clean shot from the
left wing that hit off the backboard and rim and bounced out. It
was the sour ending for Murray, who was 6 of 10 from the field and
was the catalyst all game for Davidson, despite nine turnovers.
”We just tried to make a play,” Murray said. ”I came down the
left side and tried to run off girls and make it. I wasn’t happy
with it since it wasn’t made. I’m still thinking about it now. What
could I have done? I don’t ever want to feel like this again. I
don’t ever want to lose like that again.”
”We knew it would be a battle to the end,” Davidson coach
Michele Savage said. ”We withstood a lot throughout out the game,
but we slipped down at the end.”
NOTES: Chattanooga held a 36-32 edge on the boards, but 22 of
those came on the offensive end. … Chattanooga senior guard Kylie
Lambert got engaged at midcourt after the game.