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

tournament.

The 11-point deficit was the largest Chattanooga has overcome

this season.

”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

left.”

The Lady Mocs (29-3) enter the NCAA tournament riding a 19-game

winning streak.

”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

left.

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

remaining.

As Davidson was working on the clock Murray was called for an

illegal screen, giving Chattanooga the ball with 25 seconds to

go.

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.