ASHEVILLE, N.C. - University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball coach Wes Moore had a message for his team following the Lady Mocs' season-opening upset of Tennessee on Nov. 9. He told his players to not let the big win be the high point of their season.
The message was received.
While knocking off the Lady Volunteers -- ranked No. 9 this week in both major polls -- has looked more impressive as the season has progressed, UTC (26-3) has done plenty beyond those 40 memorable minutes at McKenzie Arena.
"I don't think we settled for anything after that," UTC senior guard Kayla Christopher said Tuesday.
The Lady Mocs have won 26 of 29 games this season, with all three losses coming on the road. They went through a second straight season without losing at the Roundhouse. They went 19-1 in Southern Conference play and won the program's 12th title in the past 14 seasons.
UTC also enters today's SoCon tournament quarterfinal game against Georgia Southern (8-22) with a 16-game win streak.
"We don't want to look back and be like, at least we beat Tennessee," said junior forward Taylor Hall. "Even now, we don't want to look back and be like, at least won the regular season. We still have some things we need to do."
Hall, Christopher and junior center Ashlen Dewart made the coaches' All-SoCon team, which was announced Wednesday. Dewart said this isn't the time to pay much attention to individual awards or honors.
"I don't really care about any of the other stuff right now -- I just want the championship," said Dewart, who leads UTC with 15.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.
Moore, the SoCon coach of the year, said his team has done a good job of moving on from the UT win and aiming for and achieving its goals. He also said beating the Lady Vols can benefit his players even now.
"I think we still draw from it," he said. "I think our kids draw confidence from it, especially as you watched Tennessee win the SEC."
UTC appears to be a better team than it was in November. The bench is deeper with the development of freshmen Tatianna Jackson and Alicia Payne, and Dewart has played as well as anyone in the SoCon during the past few weeks, averaging 18.3 points and 10.4 rebounds in the past seven games.
Despite the win over the Lady Vols and the hot streak UTC has going into the tournament, Moore and the Lady Mocs know anything can happen when brackets are involved.
"I don't know what's going to happen this weekend," Moore said, "but our kids, they've been awesome."