Chattanooga tops Davidson for SoCon women's title

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Alex Black scored 22 points, and Chattanooga beat Davidson 71-45 on Monday to win the Southern Conference championship and clinch a berth in the NCAA tournament.

Taylor Hall, the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, added 12 points and seven rebounds. Reserves Faith Dupree and Ka'Vonne Towns each had 10 points as Chattanooga won its sixth conference tournament title in the past nine years.

Black was 9 of 13 from field and provided a big spark on the offensive end, repeatedly knocking down pull-up jumpers off the drive.

The Lady Mocs (29-3) enter the NCAA tournament with a 24-game winning streak.

Laura Murray finished with 17 points, converting a late layup to finish her career as Davidson's leading scorer with 1,880 points. Dakota Dukes added 14 points for Davidson (16-16), which shot just 33 percent from the field.

Chattanooga's pressure defense was a factor, leading to 21 points off turnovers.

The final was nowhere near as close as last year's championship, when the Lady Mocs escaped with a 64-63 victory when Murray's last-second jumper fell short at the buzzer.

Chattanooga entered the game 20-0 in Southern Conference play and left little doubt about which was the better team.

The Lady Mocs won despite not getting much from Ashley Dewart, last year's tournament MVP. She left midway through the first half with a left calf injury.

Chattanooga broke open a tight game midway through the first half when Dupree knocked down three consecutive mid-range jump shots and Meghan Downes hit a 3-pointer as part of a 12-1 run that pushed the lead to 26-14.

Chattanooga had a 35-22 advantage at the break, holding Davidson to 27 percent shooting, including just 1 of 7 from beyond the 3-point arc.

Murray hit a pair of 3-pointers in the early moments of the second half to keep Davidson within striking distance.

But Chattanooga went on a 10-2 spurt to open a 51-32 lead.

Hall hit a 3-pointer to beat the shot clock and Black scored on a fast-break layup to help turn the momentum. Black knocked down a 3 from the right wing and Towns scored on another fast-break layup to push the lead to 23 with eight minutes remaining.

Davidson didn't challenge from there.

Davidson guard Shannon Eriksson left early in the second half, apparently feeling the effects of hitting her head on the floor earlier in the game.

She missed the latter portion of the first half, and then tried to return in the second half but only lasted about a minute. As her teammates headed up the floor after a defensive rebound, she stayed behind holding her head and looking a bit disoriented.

Murray was taken out of the game with about one minute left. Her teammates pleaded with coach Michele Savage to put her back in to break the school scoring record, and she added a driving left-handed layup before leaving for good.

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