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Moulton’s Hand scores 15 as Lady Mocs back in NCAA

By Pete Iacobelli
Associated Press Writer

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — Western Carolina coach Kellie Harper knows something about title teams — and she couldn’t understand those doubted Chattanooga’s championship chances this season.

“What in the world are you looking at?” asked Harper, who won three NCAA titles as Tennessee’s point guard from 1996-98. On Saturday, people again saw Chattanooga as Southern Conference champions.

Alex Anderson scored 30 points and the Lady Mocs used a late run to earn their sixth league title in seven years.

Chattanooga has long been the class of the Southern Conference and improved to 11-0 in championship games since 1984. But this season, the Lady Mocs were picked behind Western Carolina, had lost both regular-season games to the Lady Catamounts and were seeded second here this week.

“I probably doubted them some this year,” Chattanooga coach Wes Moore said.

Instead, Laura Hall and Lawrence County High graduate Brooke Hand hit 3-pointers to start a 22-4 closing run and send the Lady Mocs (25-7) back to the NCAA tournament. Hand, a junior, tossed in 15 points.

“I can’t believe what’s happened here the last seven or eight years,” Moore said.

Western Carolina, the only team to interrupt Chattanooga’s championship run with its 2005 SoCon tournament title, couldn’t catch up. When the buzzer sounded, Hall leaped in celebration and was quickly mobbed by teammates.

Chattanooga is the only Southern Conference team to have any NCAA success. League teams had lost 15 straight first-round games before the Lady Mocs upset Rutgers in the 2004 NCAA tournament before falling to Vanderbilt.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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