After a two-year hiatus, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s basketball team reclaimed the Southern Conference title outright with a 68-59 win over Davidson Monday night at the McKenzie Arena in front of 2,336 fans.
The Lady Mocs improve to 25-3 on the year and 18-1 against the SoCon to claim their 18th Southern Conference title and 12th of the Wes Moore Era.
Davidson is 18-10 and 15-3 in league play.
Junior Ashlen Dewart (Spartanburg, S.C.) posted her 10th 20-point game with 24 points and was just shy of a double-double with nine rebounds. She was 11-of-13 for the night and had four steals. Senior Kayla Christopher went 2-of-5 from beyond the arc for 11 points and three assists. Freshman Tatianna Jackson (Atlanta, Ga.) was 4-of-5 form the field for nine points and four rebounds while junior Taylor Hall (New Tazewell, Tenn.) had eight points and two boards.
The two teams played neck-and-neck throughout the first half with neither team getting out front by more than five points at a time. There were five ties in the opening stanza and five lead changes. Dewart converted a 3-point play with 3:17 to play in the first half to spark a small 8-3 run capped off by a 3-pointer by sophomore Ka’Vonne Towns (Lilburn, Ga.) to give UTC a 31-26 lead, it’s largest of the half and Chattanooga would never trail again.
Davidson started the second half with a steal and a jumper from Laura Murray to cut it to 31-30 with 19:06, but that’s the closest it would get for the Wildcats who shot 35.7% in the second half. Dewart scored 10 of the Lady Mocs next 25 points, including a layup with 6:32 to play to give Chattanooga its first double-digit lead of the game at 56-46.
Sophia Aleksandravicius scored 10 of the first 16 points to give the Wildcats’ a 16-11 lead midway through the first half. She would only have 11 at intermission and 18 for the game. She added 10 rebounds for a double-double with three assists and two steals. Murray added 16 points for Davidson making 7-of-15 and Barbara Sitton added another eight points with five assists.
Chattanooga outscored Davidson 44-28 in the paint and got 23 points from the bench compared to nine for the Wildcats. The Lady Mocs scored 16 points off 17 Davidson turnovers while the Wildcats had eight points to Chattanooga’s 13.
The win clinched the top seed for the Lady Mocs at the Southern Conference Tournament March 8-11 in Asheville, N.C.
Up next for Chattanooga is the season finale at Appalachian State Saturday at 4:30 p.m. It will be a double-header with the Mocs who tip off against the Mountaineers at 2 p.m. at the Holmes Center.
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt