GREENVILLE, S.C. - The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team had to work for its seventh straight win.
The Lady Mocs remained in first place in the Southern Conference with a 60-57 victory Saturday afternoon against Furman at Timmons Arena.
Lady Mocs coach Wes Moore came into the game wary of the Paladins for several reasons: No. 1, Furman beat UTC by 14 points at Timmons last season; No. 2, the Lady Mocs crushed Furman 83-40 in Chattanooga in December.
"Late in the game I reminded the kids, 'You've done this all year long,'" Moore said in a phone interview after Saturday's game. "All year long, when it was crunch time you've found a way to get it done. We shot free throws well, which was big for us."
UTC came in shooting 64.7 percent from the free-throw line, but in a physical game with a combined 34 fouls, the Lady Mocs (17-3, 10-1) hit 14 of 17 shots from the line.
Kayla Christopher made a pair with 15 seconds left to put UTC up 60-57. Furman (8-12, 4-7) had a chance to tie, but Kaitlin Murphy's 3-pointer at the end was off the mark.
Christopher led UTC with 16 points and Ashlen Dewart scored 13. Ka'Vonne Towns added six points with two 3-pointers in the final 10:11.
In a tight game from start to finish, UTC led 32-30 at halftime. Furman scored the first nine points of the second half as the Lady Mocs went through another drought, not scoring until the 14:52 mark.
UTC took the lead for good on a Dewart layup with 2:21 remaining. Christopher pushed the lead to 58-55 with a jumper with 1:07 to play. Two Furman free throws -- the Paladins were 19-of-23 for the game -- made it 58-57 with 34.2 seconds left. After getting through Furman's press, Christopher sealed the win with two free throws.
UTC visits Wofford on Monday.