GREENVILLE, S.C. — The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team had to work for its seventh straight win.
The Lady Mocs remained in first place in the Southern Conference with a 60-57 victory Saturday afternoon against Furman at Timmons Arena.
Lady Mocs coach Wes Moore came into the game wary of the Paladins for several reasons: No. 1, Furman beat UTC by 14 points at Timmons last season; No. 2, the Lady Mocs crushed Furman 83-40 in Chattanooga in December.
"Late in the game I reminded the kids, 'You've done this all year long,'" Moore said in a phone interview after Saturday's game. "All year long, when it was crunch time you've found a way to get it done. We shot free throws well, which was big for us."
UTC came in shooting 64.7 percent from the free-throw line, but in a physical game with a combined 34 fouls, the Lady Mocs (17-3, 10-1) hit 14 of 17 shots from the line.
Kayla Christopher made a pair with 15 seconds left to put UTC up 60-57. Furman (8-12, 4-7) had a chance to tie, but Kaitlin Murphy's 3-pointer at the end was off the mark.
Christopher led UTC with 16 points and Ashlen Dewart scored 13. Ka'Vonne Towns added six points with two 3-pointers in the final 10:11.
In a tight game from start to finish, UTC led 32-30 at halftime. Furman scored the first nine points of the second half as the Lady Mocs went through another drought, not scoring until the 14:52 mark.
UTC took the lead for good on a Dewart layup with 2:21 remaining. Christopher pushed the lead to 58-55 with a jumper with 1:07 to play. Two Furman free throws -- the Paladins were 19-of-23 for the game -- made it 58-57 with 34.2 seconds left. After getting through Furman's press, Christopher sealed the win with two free throws.
UTC visits Wofford on Monday.
Get breaking news from the Times Free Press on Twitter at www.twitter.com/timesfreepress or by visiting us on Facebook or Twitter at the right: