It isn't necessarily the minutes or the stats that the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball Mocs are getting that have keyed their current two-game win streak.
It's at least partly how the reserves have used their time.
The Mocs have averaged 9.5 points from their bench in their last two games — Southern Conference wins over East Tennessee State and Furman. That's after 16 total bench points in the previous five games for UTC (15-7, 6-2).
Sophomore guard Anna Claire Noblit had six points on a pair of second-half 3-pointers in the Mocs' 61-46 win over the Paladins on Thursday.
"They were playing a zone and they were pretty packed in," UTC coach Jim Foster said Thursday. "She's a good shooter when she takes her time. I thought she took her time, got a couple of good looks at the basket. I think she did a good job for us."
Sydney Vanlandingham has been a primary beneficiary of Foster's promise last week to "use more of our bench." The 5-foot-11 junior has averaged 12.5 minutes in the last two games and has scored a basket, handed out an assist and got a steal in each. Moses Johnson made all three of her shots from the field and scored seven points against ETSU on Jan. 30.
The two true freshmen have got into the mix as well. Molly Melton played one minute against the Bucs and took a charge. Nakeia Burks had both an offensive rebound and a steal against Furman.
Reserves helped jump-start the Mocs on Thursday. Down 11-3, UTC made a 17-0 run with Vanlandingham and Burks in the game.
"We came out slow, but after the timeout I feel like that's where we got our energy," junior center Jasmine Joyner said. "Sydney came in. Nakeia came in. They gave us a burst of energy that we needed. I felt like that's where everything started."
Noblit's two 3s in the fourth quarter helped open the margin, her second giving the Mocs a 17-point advantage with 1:46 to play in the game.
Foster feels confident that his bench will be just as capable of producing today, when the Mocs host Wofford in a key conference game at 2.
"Our depth is starting to help us in different areas," he said.
Joyner in January
Joyner was announced Friday as the SoCon player of the month for January, when she averaged 13.6 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.9 blocks per game. She had 21 points, 20 rebounds and six blocked shots in a win at Furman, eight blocks against Western Carolina, four assists with 18 points and 14 rebounds against UNC Greensboro and 19 points and six blocks at ETSU.
The junior from Southaven, Miss., leads the nation with 4.0 blocks per game, leads the SoCon with 9.4 rebounds a game and is second all-time in the conference with 271 blocks.
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.