UTC Lady Mocs Stop Samford, 63-50

Coach Jim Foster Gains 800th Win

Saturday, January 25, 2014 - by B.B. Branton
- photo by Tim Evearitt

"Asked what it means to reach 800, Foster stated, “You have talented players and you are old.”

 -- UTC Women's Coach Jim Foster in the press conference after UTC beat Samford Saturday afternoon.

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While Michael Jordan has his bowl of Wheaties (and six NBA rings), UTC women’s coach Jim Foster has gone the Oatmeal-brown sugar-walnuts way and has earned 800 college basketball wins (and five international gold medals).

Asked what it means to reach 800, Foster stated, “You have talented players and you are old.”

Saturday afternoon in McKenzie Arena, the Oatmeal king and his talented band of Lady Mocs defeated visiting Samford, 63-50.

“They (Samford) are a well-coached team, are good at shooting the 3-point shot and converting back door cuts and we defended both well today.”

Samford came in averaging 35% from beyond the arc and the Lady Mocs held the Bulldogs to 25% (3-12).

First Half: The Mocs used runs of 7-0 and 9-0 to help gain a 33-23 halftime advantage. Ashlen Dewart (8 pts. in the half) was the 7-0 run in a two minute stretch early in the half (to go from down 2-0 to up 7-2) with a 3-pointer and a pair of layups.

Samford re-gained the lead (their last) at 16-15 on a pair of free throws by Ellen Riggins at 10:11.

The Mocs then went up by 12 with less than a minute before intermission (33-21) on a 3-pointer by Taylor Hall (her 95th career trey).

Second Half: Hall came alive, scoring 16, second half points with four steals. UTC went up by 16 (43-27 at 13:46), but Samford would not go away, pulling within seven at 55-48 on a bucket by Gordon Lee product Kassidy Blevins.

Hall then took over, scoring eight straight points as the hosts were back up by 15 (63-48) with seven seconds remaining.

Blevins scored the final two points of the game.

Local Product Does Well:  2013 Georgia Class A Player of the Year Kassidy Blevins from Gordon Lee (Chickamauga, Ga.) led the Bulldogs with a season-high 13 points ... Blevins was all-state and led the Trojans to the 2013 state crown.

Large Crowd: Playing before the 10th largest home crowd in program history (3,854), the Lady Mocs improved to 17-3 overall and 9-0 in the Southern Conference, outrebounded Samford, 34-28, and led in steals (12-4).

Win Streaks: While the players gave coach Foster his 800th win (800-310) in 36 seasons, they increased their nation-leading home court win streak to 35, the consecutive conference win streak to 25 and the season win streak to 13.

Ironically, UTC has not lost a game in McKenzie since falling to Samford, 68-66, March 6, 2011. The streak includes wins against Tennessee, Alabama and Auburn.

UTC was led by senior Taylor Hall (22 pts., 6 rebs., 6 steals) and Ashlen Dewart (10 pts., 7 rebs.).

Samford was led by Kassidy Blevins with 13 points and two rebounds.

Chattanooga 63, Samford 50

Samford 23 – 27 – 50

UTC 33 – 30 – 63

Stats:

UTC led in Points in the Paint (36-30), Points off Turnovers (13-10), Fast Break Points (4-0) and 2nd Chance Points (13-6).

Taylor Hall Watch:

Career Points - needs 34 to reach 1,000

Career Assists - needs 1 to reach 200 

Career Rebounds -  reached 700 today (702) with 6 boards

Career 3-Pointers - needs 5 to reach 100

Ashlen Dewart Watch

Career 3-Pointers -  reached 50 today with 1 of 4

Career Points - needs 76 points to reach 1,000 as a UTC player ...

she totaled 1,019 in two years at Appalachian State

Career Rebounds - needs 65 to reach 800

The Ace Helpful Hardware Man He is Not: It was Christmas Eve 1981 and Foster and current UConn coach Geno Auriemma in their younger days attempted to assemble a tricycle for Foster's then 3-year-old son, Christian.

"We were not exactly adept at putting together the perfect bike as it never did ride well," said Foster with a smile.

"Our wives soon thereafter took away the wrenches and screw drivers," Foster stated.

Ironically, Christian was a cyclist for a few years and owns a semi-pro cycling team.

contact B.B. Branton at william.branton@comcast.net

Taylor Hall launches a long three-pointer.
Taylor Hall launches a long three-pointer.
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt

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