After two years as Tenisha Townsend's backup, junior Alex Black has her shot this season at running the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball offense.
The Lady Mocs, who open their season Friday night against 20th-ranked Tennessee at McKenzie Arena, will play a more aggressive, fast-paced style of offense than in recent years under coach Wes Moore. It's a style that suits the speedy point guard's game just fine.
"We can push it more and do some of the things he's trying to implement now," said the 5-foot-8 Black, who averaged 4.5 points and 2.4 rebounds in a little more than 16 minutes a game last season. "I think it will benefit us because of the type of players that we are."
Moore, who is beginning his 15th season at UTC, said the physical aspect of playing fast is no problem for Black. The decision-making part, however, is more uncertain. The Lady Mocs' backup is freshman Alicia "Red" Payne, a Memphis native like Black.
"I think Alex definitely wants to push it, and she has the athletic ability to play up-tempo," Moore said. "The biggest thing we've had to worry about with Alex is the mental aspect -- making the right decisions: When options are taken away, can you go to the third option, fourth option?"
UTC's new system almost certainly will lead to more turnovers, Moore said. The Lady Mocs led the Southern Conference last season with an average of 13 per game -- next was Samford at 15.2 -- and Moore said he can accept turnovers as long as they're not unforced errors.
"If you're going to take a risk, to me there's got to be a reward, like a layup, on the other side of it," he said.
Black said she and the Lady Mocs are ready for Friday to get here.
"We're excited, we're nervous and we're ready to get out there," she said. "We want to know what we can do, too."
Contact John Frierson at email@example.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.
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 ...