UTC's Ashlen Dewart facing former team

UTC's Ashlen Dewart facing former team

January 25th, 2013 by John Frierson in Sports - College

UTC's Ashlen Dewart plays in a game against College of Charleston at McKenzie Arena.

Photo by Angela Lewis/Times Free Press.

Ashlen Dewart spent two years at Appalachian State University. She started 57 basketball games for the Mountaineers and was their leading scorer as a freshman and sophomore.

In the summer of 2011, Dewart decided she'd be happier elsewhere. More specifically, at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where her older sister Bailey played.

After sitting out last season, Dewart will square off against her former team -- and many of her former teammates -- for the first time Saturday at McKenzie Arena.

"It's definitely going to be a different game," she said this week. "I've obviously been focused on the other games as they've come up, but that one has popped up in my head a little bit."

This is a Southern Conference game, one of 20 each for UTC (15-3, 8-1) and Appalachian (12-3, 6-1). It's not a grudge match, Dewart said.

"There's definitely no hostility towards [ASU] or anything like that," she said. "I don't have any bitter feelings at all. I still love App, love my old teammates and respect the coaches, but I'm definitely excited to play them."

Dewart was on the UTC bench when the Lady Mocs hosted the Mountaineers last season, and she traveled on her own -- players can't ride with their teams while sitting out transfer seasons -- to Boone, N.C., for UTC's game at ASU. It was a little weird, she said at the time, but not too awkward.

Appalachian State coach Darcie Vincent said this week that so much time has passed since Dewart transferred that her appearance on the court shouldn't be a big deal for the Mountaineers.

"It's so far past it at this point. That's maybe the good thing about having to sit out a year when you transfer," Vincent said. "I don't even think it will be a topic of conversation here. All we're thinking about is getting a win at Chatt."

After losing 26 straight in the series, from 1999 to 2010, the Mountaineers have won four of their last five games against UTC. Dewart helped ASU win two of those games.

"It will always have a special place in my heart," she said of Boone and Appalachian State, but all that matters Saturday is getting the Lady Mocs a win.