UTC Women Host UNCG In SoCon Opener

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

 The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s basketball team opens the 2017-18 Southern Conference season Thursday, Jan. 4 against UNCG at the McKenzie Arena in game one of a doubleheader with the Mocs’ men’s team.

Chattanooga and  UNCG first met in 1998. The Spartans won both that year and then two the next season. After the Mocs took the next two regular season games in the 1999-2000 season, UNCG eliminated the Mocs in overtime in the semifinals of the SoCon Tournament. Over the next 41 meetings, UTC has won 39. The last UNCG win was last season in overtime in Greensboro. Chattanooga responded to that loss by eliminating the Spartans in the quarterfinal round of the Southern Conference Tournament. At home the Mocs are 17-3 against UNCG and 17-3 on the road. The Spartans have won both overtime meetings and the Mocs are 7-1 in the Southern Conference Tournament.

The Mocs ended the non-conference slate with a 9-5 record. UTC snapped a three-game losing skid with a six straight wins to start the year and won three of its final five games. UTC posted wins over Indiana, Northwestern, Georgetown and Auburn in the same week then posted a win over Florida on the Gator’s home court.

The Mocs are averaging 59.4 points per game, outscoring opponents by 1.4 points while shooting 42.3 percent from the field. At the free throw line, the Mocs are shooting 73.2 percent and lead the Southern Conference from the 3-point line making 42.3 percent of their attempts. On the boards, UTC has 32 rebounds per game.

Aryanna Gilbert leads the Mocs with 14.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. She is shooting 49.7 percent from the field and second on the team from the 3-point line with 23 treys and a 41.8 percent clip. Lakelyn Bouldin scored a career-high 32 points in the Mocs win over Hampton. She was 6-of-8 from the 3-point line and 8-of-9 from the charity stripe. Keiana Gilbert is the third UTC player in double figures with 12.8 points per game. She has a team-best 5.6 rebounds per game, 41 assists and 15 blocked shots. Arianne Whitaker has 5.4 rebounds per game and has scored in double digits twice in the last three games. She posted her first double-double with the Mocs at Florida and followed it with a 10-rebound game the next day against Princeton.

The Spartans closed out non-conference play with a win over Lees-McRae to improve to 6-9 on the year. After starting the season with three straight wins, UNCG would win just one of its next nine games. From the field, the Spartans are shooting 41.9 percent, averaging 65.8 points per game and allowing opponents 62.2 points per game. They are shooting just 24.8 percent from the 3-point line and 70.7 percent from the charity stripe. On the boards, UNCG is outrebounding foes 36.6-31.7. 

Nadine Soliman, the SoCon Freshman of the Year last season, leads three Spartans in double figures with 13.4 points per game. She has 3.5 rebounds and a team-high 22 steals. Alexus Willey is second on the team in scoring with 11.8 points and leads the Spartans with 26 3-pointers. Ije Ajemba leads the SoCon on the boards and is averaging a double-double with 11.4 points and 11.4 rebounds per game.

Jim Foster is just five wins away from 900 for his career. He would become just the eighth coach in NCAA history, across all divisions, to reach that plateau.

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