UTC Lady Mocs Top Elon, 69-55

38 Straight Wins at Home

Friday, February 28, 2014 - by B.B. Branton

A slow start, but a strong finish highlighted by defensive pressure and a good transition game produced a 69-55 win for the Chattanooga Lady Mocs at McKenzie Arena against visiting Elon in a Southern Conference women’s basketball game Friday night.

UTC seniors Taylor Hall and Ashlen Dewart combined for 29 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds as the Lady Mocs improved to 25-3 overall, 17-0 in the SoCon and extended the nation’s longest home court win streak to 38.

Slow Out of the Gate: The Blue and Gold started slow – UTC shot 25% in first eight minutes - but finished strong before intermission - shot 80% final eight minutes of the first half.

“They started the game aggressively and we did not match it,” said Hall.

Despite the early cold shooting, the Mocs led 33-31 at intermission

UTC was 4 of 16 at the 11:39 mark (Elon was 5 of 11) and trailed 22-16, but closed strong with a 17-9 run (80% from the field, 8-10) for the two point half time advantage

Hall and Dewart took charge combining for 15 of the final 17 points.

Led by Jenifer Rhodes (10 points at half), Elon  (13-15, 9-8) was able to score often inside (16-10 advantage in the paint in the first eight minutes), led 8-2 at 17:48 and 25-18 at the five minute mark before Hall and Dewart got hot.

“They ran hard early and we didn’t,” said UTC coach Jim Foster

“But our pressure defense eventually extended their offense and as a result their rebounding was not as good.

“We work every practice on transition drills and it allows us to be pretty efficient.”

Elon led 12-7 on the boards at 11:39 of the first half, 18-15 at half, but UTC had the edge by the end of the game at 39-33.

Rhodes (8) and Kelsey Harris  (7) led the Phoenix on the boards, while Dewart (8), Alex Black (7) and Jasmine Joyner (5) led UTC in rebounding.

Overall, Rhodes tallied 16 points for the Phoenix, followed by Harris (10) and Lauren Brown (8 pts. 7 assists).

Back and Forth: There were five lead changes in the first half, the last coming on a Dewart basket for a Mocs 33-31 advantage,  a lead the Blue and Gold would not relinquish the remainder of the game.

Second Half Start: The Mocs came out quick in the final 20 minutes, moving to a seven point lead (42-35) at 16:16.

UTC reached double figures for the first time at 12, 51-39, on a 3-pointer by Black, a high water mark of 21, 65-44, on a layup by Aryanna Gilbert at 5:03 and finished with a 14 point win.

“We picked up our defense in the second half and got out and ran better,” said Dewart  in the second half.

The 6-3 senior was able to control the boards and connected with Shumpert and Gilbert in the first two minutes of the second half for baskets and a 39-33 lead at 18:03.

Guards in Transition: "Our guards played especially well in transition ... Red shot the ball well ... Chelsey made good decisions in transition, except for that one wrap around shot," said coach Foster.

Foster on Gilbert: "Aryanna Gilbert has to be more aggressive. She's a talent and when she is aggressive good things happen."

Senior Day: Lady Mocs will honor six seniors Sunday at 2 p.m. as UTC hosts UNC-Greensboro ... UTC goes for consecutive home court win No. 39

She Did Call "Bank": Hall banked one in off the glass from 3-point land at 4:45 of the first half. Asked if she called "bank" before she shot and her reponse was a resounding, "Of course." "I seem to bank in a "3" about once every five games." 

14 Straight: Hall is also on the mark at the free throw line, having made 14 straight over three games.

Good to Be Back: Senior Faith DuPree played for the first time in nearly a month (7 games) ... she had four points and a rebound in four minutes ... last time on the court was 2-1-14 vs. Davidson; 2 pts, 3 rebs.

Dewart Milestone: The senior center reached the 1,800 career point mark (1,810) tonight with her 14 points and needs 25 rebounds to reach 800.

Hall Milestone: the senior forward/guard needs 11 points to pass Nancy Smith (1,123) and take over the 20th scoring spot all-time.

Games Played: Megan Downes (122) needs to play in four more games to be 7th all-time in games played 

In Your Face: Freshman Jasmine Joyner has 40 blocked shots this season in 20 games ... 20 in the last six games ... with one regular season game remaining and hopefully three SoCon tourney games and at least one NCAA game, "Jazz" could be sixth "all-time" in blocked shots in this her freshman year. 

"Journey to 30" Continues: UTC is 25-3 and needs five wins to become first Lady Mocs team to win 30 games in a season.

Statistics:

FG%: UTC, 41.9% - 40.8%

FT%: both teams 73.7%

Rebounds: UTC, 39-33

Assists: UTC, 22-13

Blocked Shots: 6-3

Steals: UTC, 10-3   (9th time UTC has had 10 or more steals)

Chattanooga 69, Elon 55

Elon  31 - 24 -- 55

UTC 33 - 36 -- 69

UTC (25-3, 17-0), Elon (13-15, 9-8)

Attendance: 2,167  fifth time this season of more than 2,000

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


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