University of Tennessee at Chattanooga head women's basketball coach Jim Foster has spent the first half of the 2013-14 season developing depth on his team. Saturday afternoon, that depth came in handy.
The Mocs completed the 2013 half of their slate with a 70-61 victory over East Tennessee State University in Johnson City. The team won their sixth consecutive game and completed a 5-0 December, with all five wins coming on the road. They return to action Jan. 4 with a home game -- their first since Nov. 24 -- against Southern Conference opponent Georgia Southern.
Ashlen Dewart led the team with 16 points and six rebounds, but the story was the UTC bench, which scored nearly half (33) of the team's points as senior Taylor Hall got into early foul trouble and the posts were "having some problems," Foster said.
Tatianna Jackson finished with 10 points off the bench, tying Chelsey Shumpert.
"We have depth. It's not just about our starting five; it's about a lot of things we can throw at you," Foster, who got win No. 793 Saturday, said on the postgame radio broadcast. "All games are different and the personnel you are going to need for games are different. I thought Tat played her best game of the season and did a lot of the things I think she is capable of doing.
"Sometimes I think she guards herself -- today, I think she was aggressive and again did a lot of the good things."
The Mocs (10-3), who led 32-26 at the half, didn't see their lead reach double digits until a layup by Dewart two minutes into the second half. They slowly pulled away, with the lead reaching 61-45 on a 3-pointer by Hall with 5:12 remaining. The Lady Bucs would rally, but UTC's lead would not dip below eight the rest of the way.
The team shared the ball well Saturday, with 18 assists. They had 11 assists on 12 made field goals in the second half, allowing them to shoot 57 percent from the field. The Mocs were 13-for-16 at the free throw line, while holding a commanding 41-24 rebounding advantage. Hall and Ka'Vonne Towns both finished with eight points and four assists, with Hall adding five rebounds. Faith Dupree had seven points and four rebounds in 15 minutes.
Cara Bowling led ETSU (3-7) with 19 points, while Maria Bond had 17 and Serena Clark 15. The Lady Bucs will join the Southern Conference beginning in the 2014-15 season.
"ETSU is a young, talented team. They have a lot of athletes," Foster said. "I think they are going to be an interesting addition to our league."