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The start was slow.

The finish was not.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team got off to a sluggish start in its nonconference finale Friday at Presbyterian. It could have been due to some travel issues on the way, but the Mocs righted the ship after falling behind after a quarter and won 56-48 to head into Southern Conference play with a 6-8 record.

They start on the road next week with games at Samford and at Mercer. UTC lost to both teams away from McKenzie Arena last season.

Jasmine Joyner battled some second-half foul trouble but still finished with 16 points, 13 rebounds, five blocked shots and three steals against the Blue Hose (2-9). Chelsey Shumpert scored all but one of her 15 points in the second half and put the game away with four free throws in the final 36 seconds.

"I just tried to stay aggressive and tried not to let those things get to me," Shumpert said on the postgame radio broadcast. "It's about how you finish, not how you start.

"I just wanted to be aggressive for my team and let the outcome be the outcome."

Keiana Gilbert played all 40 minutes and had nine points, seven rebounds and three steals for UTC, while Queen Alford and Lakelyn Bouldin each scored seven points.

UTC took a 25-24 lead into the locker room but took control in the third quarter with a 10-1 run and later the final eight points for a 43-29 advantage heading into the final period. Shumpert scored seven points in the third and the Mocs forced six Presbyterian turnovers and scored 12 points in the paint during that decisive period.

"We did some good things to start the half," UTC coach Jim Foster said on the postgame radio broadcast. "We made a couple of key baskets and had a nice run with that group."

Cortney Storey scored 13 points for the Blue Hose, who cut the deficit to five points with 48 seconds remaining.

"We start (SoCon play) with the two toughest road games in the league," Foster said of Samford and Mercer. "We've got to get out there and play a good, hard-nosed basketball game for 40 minutes against a team that loves to dictate tempo."

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenleytfp.

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