published Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Lady Mocs claim SoCon opener

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The first six minutes of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team's Southern Conference opener couldn't have gone much worse. The rest was just fine.

Down by 15 points early at UNC Greensboro, the Lady Mocs fought their way back in the first half and surged ahead in the second for a 63-46 win Thursday night at Fleming Gymnasium.

After being behind 20-5 with 14:22 left in the opening half, UTC (3-3) outscored the Spartans 58-26 the rest of the way.

"I'm proud of the kids -- they didn't panic," said Lady Mocs coach Wes Moore, who improved to 13-1 in SoCon openers. "We just had to keep our composure and keep getting some stops. When you're down like that, you can't afford to trade baskets."

Whitney Hood led UTC with 19 points and eight rebounds, and Kayla Christopher scored 17 and had six assists. Taylor Hall pulled in a game-high 12 rebounds and Kylie Lambert grabbed 11 as UTC outrebounded the Spartans 53-37.

Alex Black had 10 points off the bench after replacing Tenisha Townsend, who suffered a sprained ankle.

It was a first half of runs as the Spartans (1-4, 0-1) used an 18-3 spurt to take the 15-point lead. Moore said that when he saw the Spartans start the game with a small lineup, he decided to have UTC play a zone defense.

"And that was probably a mistake," he said, as UNCG opened the game 8-of-10 from the field.

The Lady Mocs got back in the game with a 19-6 run to cut UNCG's lead to 26-24 at the break. Once UTC got out of the zone, the Spartans started missing shots and finished 19-of-66 from the field.

UTC took its first lead, 29-28, on a Lambert three-point play with 18:17 left in the game. The Lady Mocs slowly built the lead from there, and the Spartans never made a run in the final 10 minutes.

The Lady Mocs visit Elon on Saturday.

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