UTC Women To Face UAB In NIT
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
The Chattanooga women’s basketball team accepted its bid to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament and will travel to Birmingham, Ala., to take on UAB in the first round. This will be Chattanooga’s sixth appearance in the WNIT and 21st in the postseason since 1984.
The Mocs and Blazers have met 34 times from 1980-2013. UTC owns a 20-14 record against UAB and has won the last eight contests.
The Mocs are 17-12 on the year, finishing third in the Southern Conference regular season and falling to UNCG in double overtime in the SoCon Tournament first round.
Chattanooga was without leading scorer Keiana Gilbert and top 3-point shooter Lakelyn Bouldin for the championships.
Chattanooga with 12.3 fouls per game, ranks third in the NCAA for fewest per game. The Mocs average 59.1 points per game and are 26th in the NCAA for scoring defense allowing opponents just 56.6 points per game. The Mocs have held opponents to 29.4 percent from beyond the arc, ranking 58th in the NCAA and are 75th for field goal percentage defense. UTC leads the SoCon in blocked shots with 4.3 per game, ranking 57th in the NCAA.
Aryanna Gilbert is second on the team in scoring (12.6) and rebounds (6.3) per game. She is shooting 87.5 percent from the free throw line and is second on the team in 3-point shooting with 38. Lakelyn Bouldin returns to the lineup. She is third on the team in scoring with 12.3 points per game and leads the team in 3-point shooting with 59 and is 88.4 percent from the charity stripe making 61-of-69. Bouldin ranks 68th in the NCAA for 3-point shooting percentage making 48.6 percent of her attempts. Arianne Whitaker leads Chattanooga on the boards with 6.6 rebounds per game and has a team-best 42 blocked shots. She and freshman Brooke Burns are each averaging 5.8 points per game.
The Blazers are 26-6 and won their first-ever Conference-USA regular season title after being picked seventh in the preseason poll. UAB won a program-record 26 games this season. Head Coach Randy Norton was selected the C-USA Coach of the Year and three were named all-conference. The Blazers fell 72-57 to Western Kentucky in the conference tournament finals.
UAB averages 72.6 points per game and has an 11.7 scoring advantage over its opponents. On the boards the Blazers have 38.1 rebounds per game compared to 34.6 by its foes. From the field UAB is shooting 44.6 percent and 39 percent from beyond the arc making 8.1 per game.
Rachel Childress leads three players in double figures with 14.3 points per game and has 105 3-pointers, shooting 44.9 percent. Deanna Kuzmanic averages 14.1 points per game and has 123 assists and a team-high 44 steals. Miyah Barnes is the third player in double figures with 11.1 points per game and a team-best 159 assists. Kara Rawls leads UAB on the boards with eight per game off the bench and Angela Vendrell has a team-best 42 blocked shots.
The winner of the first round game will advance to the second round to take on eight Georgia Tech or Bethune-Cookman. Date, time and location to be announced as games are played at home sites.
The Mocs are 4-5 all-time in the WNIT/NWIT. UTC, ranked 19th in the AP Top 20 poll, was invited to the National Women’s Invitation Tournament in 1984. The Lady Mocs defeated Oklahoma (84-78) in the quarterfinal round and Clemson (70-66) in the semifinal. UTC was edged 67-66 by Vanderbilt in the final.
In Wes Moore’s second season, the Mocs won the SoCon regular season with the greatest turnaround in school history from 10-17 in the 1998-99 season to 26-5 the next year. UTC fell to UNC Greensboro in the SoCon Tournament semifinal and accepted a bid to the WNIT. Chattanooga defeated Alabama 70-68 at home before falling to Georgia Tech (81-74) at the Roundhouse two days later.
In 2005, UTC defeated Villanova 50-40 in the first round before falling at Kentucky, 91-54 at the Memorial Coliseum. The Mocs would meet up again with Kentucky in Lexington in 2009 with the Wildcats winning 81-76 in overtime.
After missing out on the postseason in 2011, UTC traveled across the state to take on Memphis in the first round, falling 60-59 in a heartbreaker.
UTC has advanced to the postseason tournament 20 times since 1984 including 15 NCAA Tournament appearances.