The 3-point shot was an integral part of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team's success during the past 15 seasons. It will remain relevant in new coach Jim Foster's system as well.
UTC ranked second in the Southern Conference in 3-point percentage (.314) and 3s made (208) last season, when the Lady Mocs went 29-4 and won the SoCon regular-season and tournament titles.
That was under Wes Moore, who liked to have one player in the post and four capable shooters on the perimeter. UTC averaged 216.7 3-pointers a season in Moore's final three seasons before leaving for North Carolina State.
Foster said UTC will shoot 3s if it has the shooters.
"I'm interested in players who can make 3-point field goals taking 3-point field goals," he said before Monday's session at the Chattem Practice Facility.
For the past four seasons UTC had one of the SoCon's top long-range shooters in Kayla Christopher, who finished her career third on the SoCon all-time 3-point scoring list with 214. She made a team-high 63 last season.
Senior point guard Alex Black is UTC's top returning 3 shooter, having made 33 last season. The Lady Mocs return four players who made at least 20 3s.
"We're fortunate enough to have a lot of good shooters on the the team," said Black, who has 56 career 3s. "We don't have Kayla, but I think because so many of us can shoot, it will be not necessarily one person filling that role, but all of us.
"We all worked on our shot this summer, and we've all gotten better."
Senior shooting guard Meghan Downes made 20 3s last season as a backup. Her game is a mix of 3s and drives to the basket or pulling up for 10-foot jumpers. She said Foster wants all of UTC's perimeter players to be multifaceted.
"He wants you to be a complete player and not just have that one thing you do," she said. "He wants you to be able to attack off the dribble, take a couple of dribbles and pull up, and he wants you to be an overall great player."
UTC could look to its five freshmen who will play this season for some 3-point help, primarily from Kentucky all-state guards Whitney Hartlage and Chelsey Shumpert. Both were good outside shooters -- Hartlage made 97 3s as a senior -- and prolific scorers in high school.
Monday was the start of the second week of the Lady Mocs' preseason practices. The first week apparently was quite productive.
"He's made every single person on this team better," Downes said. "Already."
The Lady Mocs play an exhibition against Lee University on Nov. 4 and open their season against Alabama at McKenzie Arena on Nov. 8.
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