There will be no Southeastern Conference sweep for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team. It's hard to beat anyone, especially an SEC team on the road, when you shoot 27.3 percent from the field.
Auburn built a big lead early and UTC was never able to knock down enough shots to close the gap Wednesday night in Auburn, Ala. The Tigers handed the Lady Mocs their second loss of the season, 53-40, at Auburn Arena.
The last time UTC scored less than 40 was a 31-point outing against top-ranked Baylor last season.
"We acted like we were scared to death of the press and we couldn't throw it in the ocean -- that's a bad combination," UTC coach Wes Moore said in a phone interview after the game.
The Lady Mocs (8-2), who defeated Tennessee and Alabama earlier this season, finished 15 of 55 from the field. From 3-point range, UTC made just 4 of 31 attempts. The Lady Mocs also turned the ball over 22 times, which led to 11 Auburn (9-2) points.
UTC also shot poorly from long range in its previous game, last Wednesday against Jacksonville State. The Lady Mocs are 10 of 64 on 3s in their last two games.
"We probably got too many shots from the perimeter tonight," Moore said, "but, again, they were wide open looks."
The Lady Mocs hit just 6 of 29 shots in the first half and were 1-for-17 on 3s. Auburn started out hot, going 8-for-14 from the field to open the game. However, the Tigers also struggled late in the half, shooting 2-for-13 the rest of the way. Auburn led 28-15 at the break and shot 41.2 percent for the game.
Moore said he was pleased with UTC's defense, which held Auburn well below its average of 72.2 points per game.
Kayla Christopher hit a couple of 3s early in the second half and UTC had the lead down to less than 10 several times. Auburn helped UTC out by going 10-for-19 from the free-throw line, but the Lady Mocs' poor shooting kept UTC from mounting a significant rally.
Ashlen Dewart was 5-for-9 from the field and led UTC with 13 points. Christopher added 11, including three 3s.
Auburn's Hasina Muhammad led all scorers with 19 points. Auburn freshman guard Chadarryl Clay, a GPS graduate, had four assists and two steals.
The Lady Mocs are off until Jan. 2, when they visit UAB.