published Sunday, February 10th, 2013

After slow start, Lady Mocs roll

UTC's Tatianna Jackson looks for an open player while being guarded by Elon University's Zora Stephenson Saturday at McKenzie Arena.
UTC's Tatianna Jackson looks for an open player while being guarded by Elon University's Zora Stephenson Saturday at McKenzie Arena.
Photo by Jay Bailey /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga doesn't lose back-to-back games to Southern Conference women's basketball opponents. At least not often.

Three teams have enjoyed "winning streaks" against the Lady Mocs since 2000: Samford, Western Carolina and Appalachian State. Elon was trying to join that exclusive club Saturday night at McKenzie Arena, and for about 10 minutes it looked like it might happen.

UTC had five points in the first 10 minutes, leaving the crowd of 2,449 -- including the many former Lady Mocs on hand for Legends Weekend -- awfully quiet.

No worries. The Lady Mocs closed the first half on a 22-6 run and totally dominated the second in a 63-40 SoCon win over the Phoenix.

"I think our effort was there and energy was decent," UTC coach Wes Moore said of the slow start. "Finally we hit a couple of shots and were able to get some stops and turnovers that led to some transition buckets and turn it around."

Moore locked up his 13th 20-win season in 15 years at UTC. The Lady Mocs (20-3, 13-1), who have won 10 straight games overall and 23 in a row at the Roundhouse, remain in first place in the SoCon.

In its 70-60 overtime loss at Elon (12-10, 9-4) on Jan. 7, UTC missed 11 of 21 free throws, was outrebounded 47-40 and let Elon sharpshooting guard Ali Ford score 21 points.

Ford was held Saturday to five points, 12 below her average, and turned the ball over six times. With Kylie Lambert and Tatianna Jackson guarding her for most of the game, the SoCon's new all-time leader in 3-pointers (316) went 0-for-6 from beyond the arc.

"She's a really good player," Lambert said, "and we focused on her in practice and just tried to slow her down and keep her from shooting the 3."

Jackson led UTC with 14 points, Ashlen Dewart had 12 points and eight rebounds and Faith Dupree added 11 points. After struggling with her shot often since her return from a knee injury, Dupree was 4-for-6 Saturday and made her first 3-pointer of the season.

"When I made the first couple of baskets, I felt more comfortable out there," Dupree said. "I'm really glad that's happening because I've had a few rusty games and I'm trying to get out of that."

After making just two of its first 11 shots, UTC finished 25-of-63 from the field. The Lady Mocs had 19 assists and 11 steals and forced 17 Elon turnovers. What put perhaps the biggest smile on Moore's face was their 46-36 rebounding advantage.

The Lady Mocs host UNC Greensboro on Monday at 5:30 p.m., part of another UTC women/men doubleheader.

about John Frierson...

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 ...

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