Hood, Lambert pace Lady Mocs

Kylie Lambert followed directions Saturday.

Lambert looked for her shot and scored 18 points in the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's 71-55 Southern Conference women's basketball win over Western Carolina at McKenzie Arena.

UTC coach Wes Moore said this past week that he had "begged" Lambert to be more aggressive offensively. The 5-foot-11 sophomore from Etowah did that and more against the Catamounts.

Lambert attempted a season-high 14 shots - she came in averaging just shy of six per game - and was 3-for-6 from 3-point range. She also had 10 rebounds for her second career double-double and second in three games.

"I felt a little bit more comfortable," said Lambert, who scored eight of the Lady Mocs' first 13 points. "I felt like I had more of an open shot, especially starting off. They weren't really guarding me, pressuring me. I guess because I haven't been looking to score."

UTC (9-11, 6-5) led from start to finish. Lambert opened the scoring with a 3, and the Lady Mocs led by as many as 10 points in the first half. They had lost three of their last four games but held Western Carolina (6-12, 4-5) to 36.1 percent shooting - 27.6 percent in the second half - and allowed just 23 second-half points.

photo Capriee Tucker of UTC heads past Western Carolina's Janae' McKinney Saturday at McKenzie Arena.

"Obviously we did a better job in the second half on the boards [outrebounding WCU 26-16], and we did a better job defensively as far as giving up points and field-goal percentage," said Moore, who now has 499 career wins, including 299 in his 13 seasons at UTC.

Unlike Lambert, UTC's Whitney Hood is used to looking for her shot. But the SoCon's leading scorer had been held to 17 points or less in three straight games. Saturday, the junior forward was 10-of-16 from the field for a game-high 20 points.

"I'm just happy we got the win," said Hood, who also had six rebounds and four assists, "and I'm happy I could help my teammates by passing the ball out [for 3s] and hitting my shots when I needed to."

The Lady Mocs also got 11 points from Kayla Christopher, and Destiny Bramblett finished with career highs in points (10) and rebounds (7).

The score was 38-32 at halftime, and UTC began the second period with a 9-2 run. The Catamounts, who got 18 points and 13 rebounds from Caitlin Hollifield, never went away, but they were held to two points in the final six minutes.

After a tough few weeks - UTC is 5-3 in January - the Lady Mocs will be able to focus on themselves for a while. Their next game is Jan. 31 at home against the College of Charleston.

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