Wednesday, February 6, 2013
- by B.B. Branton
Kobe Bryant and Cheryl Miller would have been impressed.
Michael Jordan might have asked if she ate two bowls of Wheaties at halftime.
Sparked by 18 second-half points from Kayla Christopher, including four straight treys, the Chattanooga Lady Mocs rallied to defeat Southern Conference foe Samford, 60-46, Wednesday night at McKenzie Arena.
Christopher, a senior from Oliver Springs, Tenn.
, tallied all her points in the final 20 minutes to lead a second half comeback to secure the ninth straight win this season and the team’s 22nd straight home victory over two seasons.
“I didn’t get many good looks in the first half, but coach (Wes Moore) told me to be more aggressive in the second half,” said the 5-9 guard who hit a couple of 3s from close to 25 feet out.
“She has the green light to shoot it from that far out and just has to work to get open,” said UTC coach Moore.
The Lady Mocs improved to 19-3 overall and continue to lead the SoCon at 12-1, while Samford is 11-11 overall and in fifth place in the SoCon at 8-5.
The Bulldogs opened the game on a strong note leading by nine on two occasions by the 14:36 mark and held a three-point half time lead at 25-22.
The visitors lead went to five (31-26) at 17:24 of the second half on a jumper by sophomore Taylor Reece before Christopher got hot from beyond the arc.
Quicker that one can eat a bowl of Wheaties, Christopher connected on four of five shots – all 3s – in a five-minute span to give UTC a six point advantage at 42-36 at 12:13.
Reece answered with a pair of jumpers of her own in a little over a minute to pull the visitors to within a pair at 42-40 at the 9:49 mark, but could get no closer.
“Taylor is an excellent player and was getting open looks at the basket so we did decided to go small to see if we could put pressure on her shot and keep the ball out of he hands as much as possible,” said coach Moore.
Using quickness and turning up the defense, the Mocs then held Reece and company to only four points in the final nine minutes in a 16-4 run for a 60-44 lead.
Reece’s final points came on a layup with nine seconds remaining, but it was too little too late as Samford trailed 60-46.
We dug deep to win this one," said Moore who saw his team shoot 50% from the field (14-28) in the second half after only hitting 9-of-0 in the first half (30%).
Joining Christopher in double figure scoring for the Lady Mocs was Tatianna Jackson with 10 (plus three steals and five boards), while Taylor Hall contributed with four points and a team-high 10 rebounds.
Samford was led by Hannah Dawson with a double-double (15 pts., 11 rebs), while Jazmine Martin and Reece contributed with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
While the Mocs’ defense was a factor in the second half, Samford had the solid defense in the opening half forcing seven Lady Mocs turnovers and had seven assists and five steals.
“Hats off to Samford as they made it tough on us to get it inside tonight,” coach Moore stated. “They made 22 turnovers in our first meeting (UTC won 66-60) and had only 11 tonight.”
First Half Recap: UTC’s Alex Black opened the game with a trey, but Samford wasn’t fazed and went on a 14-2 run to lead 14-5 at 14:36 on a jumper in the lane by Kendall Schwantz.
The hosts then took over and went on a 9-0 run against the Birmingham-based school as Ka’vonne Towns tossed in five before a Faith DePree layup even the score at 14-14 at 11:05.
Samford outscored UTC, 11-8, for the 25-22 lead at intermission.
But the Lady Mocs senior with hot hand was the difference in the second half.
“She’s a senior who refused to lose tonight and once she started shooting (only 0-1 in the first 20 minutes) she was the difference in the game,” Moore stated.
“And Tatianna gave us a lift off the bench and converted turnovers into layups,” Moore stated.
Next Game Legends Weekend - The Lady Mocs host Elon Saturday at 5 p.m. as part of a doubleheader as the men host the College of Charleston at 7:30 p.m.
Former UTC coaches and players will be on campus this weekend and honored on Saturday night.
Mon Feb. 11 Doubleheader: UTC also hosts a doubleheader with UNCG (women) and Samford (men).
McKenzie Arena - Chattanooga, Tenn.
CHATTANOOGA 60, SAMFORD 46
SAMFORD (11-11, 8-5 SoCon)
DAWSON, Hannah 5-13 2-2 15; MARTIN, Jazmine 5-15 0-2 13; REECE, Taylor 5-10
2-4 12; SCHWANTZ, Kendall 2-6 0-0 4; STRICKLIN, Krista 0-8 1-2 1; MAYES,
Ashli 0-2 1-2 1; WEBSTER, Rebecca 0-3 0-0 0; FLETCHER, Keke 0-1 0-0 0.
Totals 17-58 6-12 46.
CHATTANOOGA (19-3, 12-1 SoCon)
CHRISTOPHER, Kayla 7-12 0-0 18; JACKSON, Tatianna 4-7 2-2 10; BLACK, Alex
2-3 4-4 9; DEWART, Ashlen 3-13 2-6 8; TOWNS, Ka'Vonne 3-7 0-2 7; DUPREE,
Faith 2-8 0-0 4; HALL, Taylor 2-6 0-0 4; BRAMBLETT, Destiny 0-0 0-0 0;
LAMBERT, Kylie 0-0 0-0 0; DOWNES, Meghan 0-0 0-0 0; PAYNE, Alicia 0-2 0-0 0.
Totals 23-58 8-14 60.
Samford....................... 25 21 - 46
Chattanooga................... 22 38 - 60
3-point goals--Samford 6-23 (DAWSON, Hannah 3-6; MARTIN, Jazmine 3-8;
STRICKLIN, Krista 0-4; MAYES, Ashli 0-2; WEBSTER, Rebecca 0-1; FLETCHER,
Keke 0-1; REECE, Taylor 0-1), Chattanooga 6-17 (CHRISTOPHER, Kayla 4-7;
TOWNS, Ka'Vonne 1-5; BLACK, Alex 1-2; PAYNE, Alicia 0-2; DEWART, Ashlen
0-1). Fouled out--Samford-STRICKLIN, Krista, Chattanooga-None.
Rebounds--Samford 35 (DAWSON, Hannah 11), Chattanooga 46 (HALL, Taylor 10).
Assists--Samford 12 (SCHWANTZ, Kendall 4), Chattanooga 10 (PAYNE, Alicia 5).
Total fouls--Samford 15, Chattanooga 13. Technical fouls--Samford-None,
contact B.B. Branton at email@example.com