The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team beat UAB by nine points Wednesday night, 66-57. One key reason was the Lady Mocs' reserve players, who outscored the Blazers' bench 19-8.
All 19 of UTC's bench points came from perimeter players Tatianna Jackson and Ka'Vonne Towns. They and guards Meghan Downes and Alicia Payne comprise the reserves coach Wes Moore has used the past two games.
It's all Southern Conference games for UTC (9-2, 2-0) the rest of the regular season, and as the schedule and road trips become more demanding, the bench will be counted on more and more.
"Hopefully we can develop even more [depth]," said Moore, whose Lady Mocs play at UNC Greensboro (3-8, 0-2) this afternoon. "Now that the freshmen [Jackson and Payne] have a semester under their belts, hopefully they'll be a little more comfortable."
Jackson seemed quite comfortable at UAB. In 17 minutes of action, she made her only field-goal attempt, hit nine of 11 free throws and grabbed six rebounds. A field goal and a lot of free throws is the scoreline of an attacking guard, which is how Jackson likes to play.
"In high school and AAU, I was really comfortable with attacking the basket," she said. "I'd rather attack than shoot a 3."
Towns, a sophomore who can play multiple positions, hit two critical 3-pointers against UAB. The first put UTC up 45-42 with 6:19 to play -- the Lady Mocs led the rest of the way -- and the second made it 55-49 with 3:46 remaining.
She also showed off a good arm with 1:39 left, throwing a long inbounds pass over the UAB defense to Kylie Lambert for a layup that gave UTC a 60-51 margin.
"You've got to come out and play with a lot of energy, and that's what I try to do whenever I'm in there," said Towns, who had eight points and three steals against UAB.
Moore said he's optimistic that center Faith Dupree (knee sprain) will be back at some point this month. That will give UTC the rotation with leading scorer Ashlen Dewart at center that was very effective at the start of the season.