It's taken a while, but it seems as though Alex Black has gotten the shooting guard thing down pretty well.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior made all four of her 3-point attempts and tied Ashlen Dewart for team honors with 14 points Monday in a lackluster 68-46 Southern Conference women's basketball victory over Western Carolina in front of 1,763 fans at McKenzie Arena. The win was the nation-leading 37th straight at home, 17th consecutive and 29th in a row in conference play for the Mocs (21-3, 13-0).
It also helped them take a four-game lead over Davidson in the conference standings, with five games to play. The Wildcats fell 66-63 to Elon on Monday.
Black spent her first three seasons playing the point guard position but is starting to become more comfortable spotting up and taking shots at off guard. In her last five games, she is 9-for-17 from 3-point range.
"I guess it did take a little time getting used to, but I feel I'm getting more consistent," she said. "It's a different mentality, but I think I need to personally step up and score a little more this year."
Taylor Hall added 10 points, seven rebounds and six assists, while freshman Chelsey Shumpert had seven assists.
The Mocs shot 53 percent from the floor and had 20 assists to 12 turnovers, but it took awhile to speed up the slower-paced Lady Catamounts, who led 5-3 at the first media timeout. UTC responded with a 16-0 run, holding the visitors scoreless for 15:15 of game time. The Mocs led 28-17 at halftime.
"They are so patient in their offense, and they eat large chunks of clock up," UTC coach Jim Foster said. "As a result we couldn't get going because their tempo dictated how we played. The tempo of the game was such that we had a 28-point first half; we score more than that.
"You have to be patient against them, because if you shoot quick, you're playing the way they want you to play."
They were able to speed up the pace some in the second half, primarily by pressing the ball-handler full court. It led to 19 points off 11 Western Carolina turnovers. UTC also had 26 points in the paint, created by 14 assists on its 17 made baskets in the final 20 minutes of play.
The lead peaked at 22 in the second half on four occasions, including the final score.
"Games like this are good for us, because we're able to try different things and see things that we need to work on," Dewart said. "That helps us a lot -- especially in the Southern Conference, because we all know each other so well."
Lindsay Simpson led the Lady Catamounts (11-13, 5-8) with 14 points, with Makensey Campbell adding 11. Western Carolina shot 19 percent (7-for-36) from 2-point range but 8-for-15 (53 percent) from 3.
The Mocs are on the road for their next three games, starting at Furman on Saturday at 2.
Contact Gene Henley at email@example.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.