KNOXVILLE — Things started out pretty well for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team Tuesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena. Much better than the Lady Mocs' previous game against Tennessee.
But except for a career-best performance by former Lady Vol Faith Dupree, the good times ended rather abruptly.
The Lady Mocs trailed by only a basket, 10-8, after more than three minutes of play. A year ago UT jumped out to a 19-0 lead.
Sixth-ranked Tennessee took command from there, however, with a 30-0 run and cruised to a 90-47 win in front of an announced crowd of 11,754.
The start was more competitive than last season, but the end result was about the same. Tennessee won 103-43 last December.
"I told our team at halftime, we've got to get back to competing in games like this," Lady Mocs coach Wes Moore said. "There was a time, even when Tennessee was winning national championships, when we could compete with them. We're going to try our best to get back to that point."
UTC (8-4) had good looks at the basket during the 12-minute drought but couldn't get anything to drop. Before Kayla Christopher hit a pull-up jumper to end the run, UTC was 3-of-20 from the field.
Tennessee led 50-16 at halftime, which Moore described as "humbling." He did say that UTC competed "much better" in the second half.
The Lady Vols finished 34-of-72 from the floor -- Ariel Massengale led four players in double figures with 19 points -- while UTC ended up 17-of-56. Tennessee outrebounded UTC 55-28 and nearly had as many offensive rebounds (24) as UTC had total.
Dupree, the sophomore from Knoxville who transferred from UT last January, hit two shots in the first four minutes and went on to score a career-high 17, hitting 7 of 10 shots.
"Coming back to this atmosphere, I knew I should step up," Dupree said. "I knew that their posts were going to play harder than what I've been playing against, and I had to pick myself up because I hadn't been playing as well as I should have."
Her first jumper got a hometown roll, doing a few laps around the rim before dropping.
"I was anxious at the beginning, definitely, and I do think making those first couple of shots did help me calm down a little bit," Dupree said.
Dupree hit her first 3-pointer for UTC in the second half during a 6-0 Lady Mocs run -- it was UTC's most successful stretch of the game. That cut UT's lead to 60-26 with 13:39 remaining.
"It was good to see Faith. It was good to see her back on the floor," Lady Vols associate head coach Holly Warlick said. "I would have liked for her to not hit so many shots against us."
Tennessee's Glory Johnson, who played with Dupree at Knoxville Webb, had 10 points and 13 rebounds.
The Lady Mocs return to Southern Conference play this weekend with games at the College of Charleston and Georgia Southern. Tennessee hosts No. 16 Georgia on Thursday.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh 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 ...