ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Sophomore guard Chelsey Shumpert scored a career-high 26 points, and No. 17 Chattanooga survived a furious second half comeback by East Tennessee State for a 61-56 overtime victory Sunday and its third straight Southern Conference championship.
East Tennessee State battled back from 24 points down in the second half to send the game into overtime on a putback by Serena Clark with 1.7 seconds left.
But Shumpert hit a 3-pointer and had an assist on a fastbreak layup in the overtime to deny ETSU its first Southern Conference tournament title.
Ka’Vonne Towns and Keiana Gilbert both had nine points as the Mocs stretched their winning streak to 25 games. Chattanooga (29-3) enters the NCAA Tournament with a strong resume that includes wins over No. 5 Tennessee and No. 19 Stanford.
Destiny Mitchell had 19 points for East Tennessee State (21-11).
Jasmine Joyner of the Mocs had four points, nine rebounds and four blocks to earn the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.
Chattanooga cruised through the regular season going 14-0 and then won its first two tournament games by a combined 47 points.
After a shaky start offensively, the Mocs took the lead with 8:15 left in the first half when Destiny Bramblett drove the lane and dished to the right corner for Moses Johnson, who knocked down a 3-pointer for a 17-15 lead.
That ignited a 23-4 run to close the half.
Johnson scored on a drive to the basket, Shumpert hit an 18-footer and Aryanna Gilbert blew past her defender down the right side of the lane for an uncontested layup to push the lead to eight. Towns hit a 3-pointer and Shumpert scored on consecutive possessions to increase the lead to 32-17.
Shumpert had 16 points in the first half.
The Mocs scored the first seven points of the second half and would push the lead to 24.
But the Buccaneers wouldn’t go away.
ETSU cut the lead to 49-47 with 3 minutes left in the second half behind a 20-1 run led by Mitchell, who began to assert herself in the low post and Tiana Carter, who came alive late.
The Buccaneers had a chance to tie the game with a minute remaining after a steal by Mitchell, but Chandler Christopher missed a baseline jumper and the Mocs corralled the rebound. After a shot clock violation on Chattanooga, Clark scored on the putback to send the game to overtime.
But the Buccaneers quickly fell behind by seven points in overtime and could never get the lead.
Shamauria Bridges added 11 points for the Buccaneers.
ETSU: The Buccaneers lost despite outrebounding the Mocs 42-27.
Chattanooga: The Mocs had beaten the Buccaneers 64-56 and 64-42 earlier in the season.
ETSU: Will wait to see if it earns an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Chattanooga: Will wait to see its seeding in the NCAA Tournament.
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