Kayla Christopher missed her only shot in the first half Wednesday against Samford. At halftime, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball coach Wes Moore told the senior guard, who came in with more than 1,200 career points, to shoot more often.
Christopher did, hitting four second-half 3-pointers and scoring 18 points in the Lady Mocs' 60-46 win. It was UTC's ninth consecutive win, 22nd straight win at McKenzie Arena (in front of a crowd of 1,973) and with it the Lady Mocs remain in first place in the Southern Conference.
"Once you hit one , you get a little confidence, and it was all good from there," said Christopher, who now has 211 career 3s.
Christopher hit a 3 from about 24 feet from the basket to tie the game at 32 with 15:39 to play. Her 3 from the right wing with 13:16 left put UTC up 39-36 and gave the Lady Mocs (19-3, 12-1 SoCon) the lead for good. Her final 3 was from at least 25 feet from the basket.
"She's got the green light when she crosses half court," Moore joked. "[Settling for long 3s isn't] an ideal situation, but when you're having trouble getting your shot off, if you've got an opening, take it -- in her case."
For the first time in SoCon play this season, UTC was down at halftime. Samford hit six first-half 3s and led 25-22 at the break. The Bulldogs (11-11, 8-5) were 6-for-17 from 3 at the half and finished 6-for-23.
UTC looked like a different team in the second half. It went 14-for-28 from the floor and played with more energy against the always-grinding Bulldogs, closing the game on an 18-6 run.
"We knocked down some shots and that was big," Taylor Hall (four points, 10 rebounds) said of the second half. "It gets us going at both ends of the floor. I think we stepped up on defense, as well, and kind of took away a couple of their players that had been hot in the first half."
Hannah Dawson led Samford with 15 points, but was held to four in the second half. Jazmine Martin, who lit UTC up for 31 in their first meeting this season, scored 13, including just four in the second half.
Tatianna Jackson provided a big lift for UTC off the bench in both halves. She finished with 10 points, five rebounds and three steals in 22 minutes.
UTC hosts Elon at 5 p.m. Saturday during UTC basketball legends weekend. The Phoenix handed the Lady Mocs their only league loss, 70-60 in overtime on Jan. 7.