What for most of the season was one of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball strengths, rebounding, was a liability in the Lady Mocs' recent losses.
That can't continue, said coach Wes Moore, whose team is tied for second in the Southern Conference halfway through the schedule. UTC (13-6, 8-2) begins the second half Saturday against UNC Greensboro (3-15, 2-8) at McKenzie Arena.
"We just got it handed to us, twice," Moore said of the rebound battle. "I don't know what happened. We were able to keep people off the boards. They just were crashing hard, and we didn't put a body on them."
UTC has outrebounded its opponent in 13 of 19 games this season. The Lady Mocs were third in the SoCon with an average of 41.5 rebounds a game heading into last week's road trip, which Moore knew would likely be their toughest of the season.
Last Saturday at Appalachian State, which is now atop the SoCon standings, UTC managed just 25 rebounds in a 62-51 loss. Two days later, at Davidson, the Lady Mocs had 40 rebounds in their 56-52 loss.
UTC was crushed in the rebounding stats by the Mountaineers, 48-25, and Davidson had a five-rebound advantage.
"I think it was most frustrating because a lot of it had to do with rebounds, which is something we can control, or should be able to control," said Lady Mocs forward Taylor Hall, who is second in the league with 8.7 rebounds a game. "We just didn't get that done."
Not only did Appalachian State nearly double up UTC on the boards, but the Mountaineers' 19 offensive rebounds were just six fewer than the Lady Mocs' overall total. UTC managed four offensive rebounds, and all of those extra ASU scoring changes were a major factor in the outcome.
Both teams hit less than 36 percent of their shots, but ASU attempted 61 field goals to UTC's 51, finishing with a 10-3 advantage in second-chance points.
"We weren't boxing out the way we usually do," UTC wing Kylie Lambert said. "We weren't crashing the boards like we normally do."
Davidson had a 19-12 offensive rebound advantage, which led to a 16-5 differential in second-chance points.
Moore has stressed for years that defense and rebounding should never be subject to fluctuations like teams have shooting the ball. Whether his team is knocking down 3-pointers left and right or throwing up bricks, UTC's efforts on the glass and the defensive end should remain the same.
Saturday's game might not be the best barometer of UTC's rebounding form, however. The Spartans are averaging just 34.8 rebounds a game, which is 10th in the SoCon.