University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball freshman Ashley Southern has decided to transfer, coach Wes Moore said Monday. Southern is leaving in search of more playing time and a style of offense that might better suit her skill set.
"She just felt like it was going to be hard to get playing time," Moore said.
The 6-foot-2 forward played in 21 games last season, averaging 9.0 minutes a game, 1.7 points and 2.3 rebounds. Her best outing was against Indiana State in the third game of the season, when she hit two 3-pointers and finished with season highs in both points (8) and minutes (18).
Southern primarily played the 4 spot behind Taylor Hall last season. And Hall emerged as one of the SoCon's top players as a sophomore.
"She analyzed it more than most people I've had and she said she's probably more of a 15-foot jump shooter.," Moore said. "And the way we play, the 4 player needs to be able to shoot the 3.
Southern hit two of three 3s against Indiana State and went 2-for-15 the rest of the season.
"I knew that would be something she'd have to work on," Moore said.
Moore said seldom-used sophomore forward Lynette Harris, who played a total of six minutes last season, likely will not return. She also wants a chance to play and is probably headed to a Division II program, he said.
The Lady Mocs will have nine returning players, and center Ashlen Dewart will be eligible after sitting out this season. They have two signees in point guard Alicia Payne and four-star-rated shooting guard Tatianna Jackson. Moore said he doesn't plan on adding to the incoming freshman class.
Instead, he said, those scholarships will be used to sign a large class of up to five players next year. In addition, Moore said he thought the smaller numbers might help the Lady Mocs close ranks and come together even more as they try to get back to the top of the SoCon.
"Workouts have been really good and we've got 10 kids over there right now that for the most part are getting after it and we're adding two talented freshmen," Moore said. "You hate to lose people, but I think we need to change the culture a little bit. Our numbers may be a little down, but I like our attitude."
Contact John Frierson at email@example.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.