The Gamecocks went without a field goal for more than 10 minutes in the second half Tuesday and suffered a 68-53 loss to Chattanooga that opened a four-game post-exam homestand.
The drought came after a stretch in which the teams swapped leads in nine straight possessions.
Destany McLin’s jumper at the 13:05 mark gave JSU a 41-40 lead, but then the Gamecocks didn’t make another field goal until Miranda Cantrell’s layup with 2:52 to play. In the interim, the Lady Mocs pulled ahead 63-47.
The Gamecocks (2-7) went 0 for 9 from the field with five turnovers in the drought. They have lost four in a row and remained winless against UTC since moving to Division I (0-7).
“When we got to the point where they realized they were in a scrap and this was not a walkover for them — and good teams will do this — they turned the volume up,” JSU coach Rick Pietri said. “They began to make a few difficult plays on offense and then defensively they turned their energy up a little bit and we just weren’t able to convert. And when we had opportunities to convert, we didn’t.
“You put that all together in a bowl, and that’s a bad concoction for our chance to be successful.”
Candace Morton led JSU with 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Gia Banks (13) and Cantrell (11) also scored in double figures.
Ashley Dewart led the Lady Mocs (6-3) with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Taylor Hall also had a double-double (10 points, 11 boards).
The Gamecocks made it a game by rallying from 10 down with 4:02 left in the first half to get it within three at halftime.
“We’ve shown we have some resolve,” Pietri said. “The thing that we have to show is we can show resolve for the full 40. That’s still the test for us, not just show it in spurts, but the full 40.
“It was going to be hard to close it, but if we could have hit a basket to end that funk, I’m not saying we’d have won, but it might have made the end look different.”
Al Muskewitz covers Jacksonville State sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3577.