The College of Charleston represents the yin and yang of Southern Conference women's basketball.
Entering today's 5 p.m. game against the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga -- the first game of the doubleheader at McKenzie Arena -- the Cougars (6-18, 5-10) are last in the league in scoring, first in scoring defense and 10th in scoring margin.
The Cougars are also last in field-goal percentage and first in field-goal-percentage defense. The Lady Mocs (16-7, 11-3), meanwhile, are in the top half of the league in most major categories.
"They'll frustrate you," Lady Mocs coach Wes Moore said of the Cougars' defense, which is holding opponents to 35.4 percent shooting.
Moore said he came away from UTC's 75-61 loss at Furman feeling frustrated, and he didn't feel much better at the end of the 51-39 win at Wofford last Saturday. With more turnovers than normal, missed free throws, poor execution on offense and some defensive lapses, the Lady Mocs had a lot to work on this week.
The College of Charleston averages just 46.2 points a game. UNC Greensboro (48.1) is the only other SoCon team averaging less than 50. The Cougars have scored 60 or more points in a game twice all season, and not since Jan. 2. Defensively, Charleston has allowed 60 points or less in 11 straight games -- with five games of 46 points or less allowed in that stretch.
UTC averages 63.3 points a game (No. 3 in the SoCon) and allows 58.9 (No. 6).
"I give College of Charleston credit for playing such good defense," UTC wing Kylie Lambert said. "Our mentality has to be to work hard on defense and our offense will come. I believe our offense will come if we play good defense."
In the Lady Mocs' 58-44 win at Charleston on Jan. 7, UTC shot 36.2 percent, turned the ball over only 12 times and outrebounded the Cougars 39-34. Whitney Hood led UTC with 16 points, while Latisha Harris erupted for the Cougars with 19 and 11 rebounds.
Hood said she has to be prepared for the Cougars' double-teams and adjust accordingly.
"Charleston is known for doubling us in the past and they usually double on the weak side, so I've got to be ready for that," said Hood, who leads the SoCon in field-goal percentage (.520). "We just have to go out there and play."
It's already been an odd month for the Cougars. Last Saturday against Davidson, they trailed 24-4 at halftime -- on their home floor -- and hit 6 of 60 shots in a 46-23 loss. Two days later against Appalachian State, the league's top scoring team, Charleston hung tough in a 50-41 loss, holding the Mountaineers 16.5 points below their average.
This will be Cougars coach Nancy Wilson's final visit to the Roundhouse. Wilson, in her 30th season as a head coach, is retiring at the end of the season.
John Frierson is in his fifth year at the Times Free Press and fifth year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...
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