After a three-game tournament trip to the Hawai’ian Island of O’ahu, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s basketball team continues its journey away from home with a five-game road stand that starts Tuesday, December 10 at Jacksonville State. The odyssey includes five games over a 12-day stretch that will see UTC closing out its non-conference slate and beginning play in the Southern Conference.
UTC went 1-2 at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Rainbow Wahine Showdown over the Thanksgiving break closing out the round-robin classic with a nail-biting 59-57 win over Colorado State. Chattanooga is averaging 66.6 points per game, outscoring opponents by a league-best average of 3.8 points. On the boards, UTC is pulling down just less than 35 rebounds per contest and leads the nation for fewest turnovers with 79 through eight games. UTC has had fewer turnovers than its opponents in every game and six times has recorded 10 or fewer, including a season-low six against Colorado State.
Senior Taylor Hall (New Tazewell, Tenn.) ranks among the Top 4 in the Southern Conference in eight categories and leads the league in four including minutes played (38.5), free throw percentage (.882), defensive rebounds (8.4) and assist-turnover ratio (1.4). She is averaging a team-high 14.0 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. She is climbing in the career stats for blocked shots with 11 on the year and 56 over the last four years. Seniors Faith Dupree (Knoxville, Tenn.), Ashlen Dewart (Spartanburg, S.C.) and Meghan Downes (Newnan, Ga.) rank among Chattanooga’s top scorers. Dupree is second on the team in scoring (8.3) and rebounding (4.9). Dewart is third for scoring with eight points per game while Downes, with a team-best nine 3-pointers, is fourth on the team in scoring with 7.6 points per game.
UTC’s freshmen stepped up in Chattanooga’s last outing scoring 28 of the team’s 36 second half points to lead UTC to a two-point victory over Colorado State. The win was cemented on a pair of free throws by rookie Chelsey Shumpert (Paducah, Ky.) who is averaging 6.2 points per game through five games.
The Gamecocks are under first-year head coach Rick Pietri and have a 2-6 overall record after going 27 games last season before securing its lone win. JSU is on a three-game losing skid after securing back-to-back wins over Kennesaw State and New Orleans. Jacksonville State is averaging just over 60 points per game and is outscored by its opponents by 8.7 points per game. On the glass, JSU is pulling down 39.1 rebounds per game and averaging 11.3 assists per game. The Gamecocks are averaging 15.9 turnovers and 7.1 steals per game.
Candace Morton leads the team in scoring with 17.9 points per game and is second in rebounding with 8.1 off the glass. Miranda Cantrell has a team-best 8.4 rebounds per game and is third on the team in scoring with 10.3 points per game. Destany McLin is second on the team in scoring with 10.8 points per game shooting 44 percent from the field.
This will be the 10th meeting between the two teams. Chattanooga is 8-1 against Jacksonville State in the series dating back to 1977 under former head coach Sharon Fanning. After winning the first meeting in the 1976-77 season, Chattanooga followed it with another win to start the next season. However, the Gamecocks’ secured a 61-56 win over UTC on its home court in February that same season. It would be nearly 20 years before the next meeting, and over the next six meetings through the end of Craig Parrott’s tenure and into Wes Moore’s, Chattanooga would grab all victories.
UP NEXT FOR CHATTANOOGA:
December 14 – at UNCG, 2 p.m.
December 16 – at Elon, 7 p.m.
December 18 – at Austin Peay, 8 p.m.
December 21 – at East Tennessee State, 1:30 p.m.