Saturday, January 18, 2014
- by B.B. Branton
"Owning the nation's longest home court win streak is something to be proud of. It's important to protect our house (McKenzie Arena) and win all games at home."
-- Chattanooga senior forward Taylor Hall
UTC senior Taylor Hall did not know. Neither did fellow senior Ashlen Dewart.
But many who follow D-I women's basketball across the nation knew.
As of late Monday night with UConn beating Baylor in Waco, Texas (snapping a 69-game home court win streak), Chattanooga became the owners of the nation's longest home court win streak in D-I women's basketball at 32.
"I knew we had won several games at home, but I had no idea we had won 32 in a row," said Hall who was a freshman the last time the Lady Mocs lost a home game; March 6, 2011 - 68-66 to Samford in the Southern Conference tournament.
Tonight vs. Wofford: The Lady Mocs (14-3, 6-0) can extend that win streak to 33 with a victory against SoCon foe Wofford (3-12, 1-4) Tip Off: 7 p.m. .... Radio: 106.9 FM.
"I am sure the Wofford players know about the win streak so we have to take care of business tonight," stated Hall who leads the team in several categories including scoring (14.1), rebounding (8.8) ppg), assists (81) and steals (37).
Dewart (10.8 pg, 4.8 rbpg) knows the importance of playing at McKenzie Arena.
"McKenzie can be a hostile environment with our great fans, the cheerleaders and our band," said Dewart who played a couple of games in the arena wearing an Appalachian State uniform before transferring to UTC before the 2012-13 season.
"Our fans are loud and supportive and we wouldn't be where we are without them."
Another Perspective: While UTC coach Jim Foster - who is three wins from 800 - is well aware of the win streak, he has more important things on his mind.
Such as keeping his players focused on the game at hand.
"Reaching 800 means nothing to me at the moment and I can think about it during the off season," said Foster (797-310) who has won 200-plus games at three different schools; St. Joseph's (248), Vanderbilt (256), Ohio State (279).
"It's all about Saturday and the two hours when we are on the court. Nothing else matters."
In his usual matter-of-fact way, Foster said, "The win streak is nice and it means you have good players."
Both UTC and coach Foster have had good players for a very long time.
Win streaks and 797 wins and counting are a by product of those talented players.
At 7 p.m. tonight, the Philadelphia, Pa. native will send out five talented ones - including Hall and Dewart - for the opening tip and hopefully add another check in the W column by night's end.
Hall stated, "The win streak is nice but we have other team goals such as winning the Southern Conference regular season title and the tournament."
Win No.33 is another step toward the regular season crown.
contact B.B. Branton at email@example.com