It's a two-team race for the Southern Conference women's basketball regular-season championship. And the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga can clinch the title outright tonight at McKenzie Arena with a win against second-place Davidson.
For UTC (24-3, 17-1), which has been atop the standings since the start of conference play, it has been a team-driven season. A prime example of that? The Lady Mocs have had just two SoCon players of the week all season, and none since Dec. 11.
UTC coach Wes Moore said center Ashlen Dewart has been the driving force for much of the season, but it is a team with balance.
"You've got to look at what Ashlen's done the last couple of games," Moore said. "I'm talking big numbers, as far as scoring and rebounding. She's just playing at a high level right now.
"I do think a big strength of ours is our bench and our depth. We've had people out for a game or two and other people have stepped up. When we do go to the bench, usually instead of there being a drop, we're getting some energy."
Forward Taylor Hall was the season's first player of the week after scoring 24 points and grabbing nine rebounds in the Lady Mocs' upset of Tennessee. Dewart got the award in December and was the player of the month.
Since then, no Lady Moc has been honored, despite the fact UTC had won 13 straight games (and Dewart had three straight double-doubles) when last week's award was announced last Tuesday. In the 2009-10 season, when UTC last won the SoCon regular-season and tournament titles, the Lady Mocs had a total of six players of the week awards.
Last week's award went to Davidson's Sophia Aleksandravicius, the 6-foot-5 forward who was the coaches' player of the year last season. Aleksandravicius has been the player of the week three times this season as the Wildcats (18-9, 15-2) have been either tied with UTC or in second place in the standings.
Seven players have led UTC in scoring in games this season. Dewart, who is third in the SoCon with 15.7 points per game, has been the team's top scorer 13 times, with nine games of at least 20 points. Three Lady Mocs are among the top 24 in the league in scoring, and three are among the top 21 in rebounding.
"There's been a lot of games where we had multiple people
in double figures," said senior Kayla Christopher, who averages 11.9 points and 3.1 assists per game. "It can be anybody any given day."