With all the attention about home winning streaks and milestone victories, what's been overshadowed in the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball Mocs' season has been their success in conference play, as well as on the road.
The Mocs, the nation's No. 2 mid-major team according to CollegeInsider.com, have a spotless 9-0 record in the Southern Conference heading into the second round of league games -- beginning today at noon at Davidson.
UTC is 17-3 overall and 7-2 in road games, losing at currently No. 10 Tennessee and by five points to Hawaii as part of the Waikiki Beach Marriott Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu in November. That was the Mocs' last blemish, as they've won 13 straight since.
They have the longest NCAA Division I women's home winning streak at 35 games. They've won 25 in a row in conference play, at least partly because the players realize the importance of getting wins wherever they can.
"On any given night, anybody can beat anybody, so even when we're on the road we want to handle our business," UTC senior forward Taylor Hall said. "We want to win the SoCon regular season and the tournament. The season's not just about keeping our home-court streak alive.
"The win streak is nice, but we have other goals."
A Mocs win today would push them closer to those goals, because it would give them a three-game lead over Davidson as well as Furman, their closest pursuers. It won't be easy, either, as Davidson held a 56-54 lead with under four minutes to play when the teams faced off on Jan. 6 -- only to see the homestanding Mocs go on an 18-8 run and pull out an eight-point victory.
UTC coach Jim Foster -- never one to overcomplicate things -- said the biggest difference headed into the Mocs' last conference clash with Davidson is the familiarity of the teams. The Wildcats move to the Atlantic 10 beginning next season.
"We've played every team in the league, and now we have to go out and do it again," said Foster, who a week ago became the 11th coach in NCAA women's basketball history to win 800 games. "Now we have an idea of what's out there, who is out there and how they play. Now we can tweak ourselves a little bit, relative to what people can do against us.
"Now we can answer and respond to that."
Contact Gene Henley at email@example.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.
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