The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s basketball team posted a 4-0 mark in an nine-day period that included three road games and wins over the Southern Conference defending co-champions as well as the SoCon tournament winner, to move into first in the league standings.
The Lady Mocs are now 16-3 on the year, ranked fourth in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25, and 9-1 in league action.
The nine-day odyssey began at Davidson, defending SoCon regular season co-champion, on Friday, January 18 at the Wildcats’ Belk Arena. After a near-stalemate throughout the first half, the Lady Mocs went 6-of-6 from the floor over the final six minutes, including an 11-0 run to close out the half, and led 35-27 at the break. Chattanooga would push its lead to as much as 12 point early in the latter half, but Davidson was able to get as close as one point twice more before the final buzzer.
The game marked the return of 6-foot-3 junior Faith Dupree (Knoxville, Tenn.) to Chattanooga’s lineup since sustaining a knee injury against ETSU on November 17 at the Roundhouse. She scored 11 points, including eight of Chattanooga’s first 10, in just 14 minutes in her return.
On Sunday, the Lady Mocs used a balanced scoring attack getting points from all 12 players at Western Carolina. The starters were able to rest with junior point guard Alex Black (Memphis, Tenn.) playing the most at 26 minutes. UTC shot 49.1 percent from the field and drained 10 3-pointers while leading wire-to-wire. Chattanooga’s largest lead of the game was 36, 64-28, when sophomore Ka’Vonne Towns (Lilburn, Ga.) dropped in a 3-pointer with 7:06 to play.
The Lady Mocs traveled to Birmingham in a mid-week matchup to take on the Southern Conference Tournament champion Samford at the Pete Hanna Center in the Southern Rail Rivalry Series. Chattanooga once again used a balanced attack on the offensive end with three players combining for 38 points in the win. Chattanooga moved into first place with the win, tied with Elon for the lead.
UTC got out to a sizzling 15-0 start with a trio of 3-pointers from juniors Taylor Hall (New Tazewell, Tenn.) and Meghan Downes (Newnan, Ga.) and led the Bulldogs 30-19 at halftime. However, Samford regrouped in the second half and, despite having just seven players available for the game, managed to get to within two points six times over the second half. Jazmine Martin led the assault with 22 second half points and 31 for the game but UTC never lost the lead.
In the middle of a six-game stretch that includes five road games, the Lady Mocs returned home to host Appalachian State, defending SoCon regular season co-champion, on Saturday. Chattanooga led 31-24 at halftime, but a scoring drought in the second half helped the Mountaineers to tie it up 47-47 on an 18-3 run that saw UTC make just three free throws. The Lady Mocs pushed its lead up to 53-49, but ASU scored six straight to snare a 55-53 lead.
A jumper from Hall tied it up at 55-55 with 1:20 to play and Christopher put UTC on top for good with two free throws with just 33 seconds to play. Towns snared a steal with 20 seconds to play on the ASU end of the court and quickly sent the ball down court where the Mountaineers fouled UTC with just over four seconds to play. However, the Lady Mocs missed both free throws and Hall was fouled on the offensive rebound with 3.5 seconds to play. She drained both shots for the final score and Chattanooga briefly took over sole possession of first.
The Wildcats defeated Elon on that Saturday to knock the Phoenix out of first and followed with a win over Western Carolina on Monday to move into a tie with UTC atop the league standings.
Chattanooga begins the second half Saturday afternoon at Furman. The game is set to tip off at 1:30 p.m. at Timmons Arena and will be aired Sunday on CSS at Noon.