(Editor's note: This story was contriubuted by Anne C. Wehunt of GoMocs.com)
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s basketball team fell 60-50 at UAB Thursday night, ending its season in the first round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament at Bartow Arena.
The Mocs fall to 17-13 on the year and the Blazers improve to 27-6 overall and will travel to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech Sunday afternoon in the second round.
Redshirt sophomore Arianne Whitaker posted her third double-double of the year with a career-high 16 points and 12 rebounds. Sophomore Lakelyn Bouldin made an emotional return to the court with a game-high 16 points, making all three of Chattanooga’s 3-pointers.
Senior Aryanna Gilbert just missed a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds and dished out four assists. She closes out her career with the Mocs with 868 points, 443 rebounds and 216 steals. She played in 125 games over her five years at UTC and is ranked in the top 10 for the Mocs in blocked shots.
Chattanooga got off to a quick 9-0 start but it was a 20-7 second quarter by UAB that turned out to be the difference. After trailing 15-10 at the end of the first quarter, UAB started the second 8-3 to tie the game 18-18 at the 6:54 mark of the period.
Whitaker hit a quick layup to put the Mocs back on top briefly, but a 12-0 run by the Blazers over the next 3:49 gave UAB a 30-20 lead that they would not relinquish.
Late in the third quarter Brooke Burns’ only bucket of the game pulled Chattanooga to within seven points, 35-42 with 42 seconds remaining in the frame and back-to-back layups by Gilbert in the fourth cut the UAB lead to 45-39 with 6:23 to play.
The Blazers put it out of reach on an 8-0 run for its largest lead of the game, 53-39 with 4:28 remaining. The Mocs cut the lead to seven points twice more but could not get closer.
Chattanooga shot 37.3 percent from the field making 22-of-59 and was 3-of-12 from beyond the arc. The Blazers were 24-of-59 from the field and 3-of-18 from the arc, well below its 39 percent on the year, eighth best in the NCAA. UAB was 9-of-12 from the free throw line and got 17 points from its bench, led by Kaitlynn Thomas’ 11 points.
Four UAB players landed in double figures led by Kara Rawls with 14 points and six boards. Deanna Kuzmanic had 11 points with three assists and Miyah Barnes chipped in 10 points with four rebounds and three assists. Angela Vendrell had a team-high 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.
On the boards, the Mocs out-battled the Blazers 39-35 with 13 offensive boards that converted to six points.
The Mocs are 4-6 all-time in the WNIT with this just the second time in six appearances falling in the opening round.