The Chattanooga women’s basketball team took a bit of a step back on Wednesday evening after its big win at Alabama.
Everything turned out alright, though.
Shots weren’t falling for the Lady Mocs, especially from deep, but luckily they were taking on a winless Jacksonville State team.
It's not how coach Wes Moore wanted his team to respond after taking down the Lady Tide on Saturday and receiving Top 25 votes in this week’s polls, but UTC still captured a 72-59 victory at McKenzie Arena.
“I was a little disappointed in our effort,” Moore said. “I think we got out-rebounded 26-17 in the second half, and that’s hustle. I think they had a little more energy than we had tonight. It is a disappointment from that standpoint, and we didn’t shoot the 3-pointer very well.
“It was a disappointing night, and maybe we can learn from the film and the experience. We need to fix it before the next time out.”
The Lady Mocs will have a week to right Wednesday's wrong, but when they return they travel to Auburn to face yet another Southeastern Conference school. If Chattanooga can knock off the Lady Tigers, it’ll be the first time in school history it’s taken down three SEC opponents in a single season.
“We’re going to have to come into practice with energy and with a good attitude because coach Moore is definitely not happy with this performance,” junior Ashlen Dewart said. “We aren’t happy with it either.”
The Lady Mocs (8-1), who were forced to play from behind early, trailed by as much as five in the game’s opening minutes. With the two teams level at 16-16 midway through the first half, Chattanooga used a quick 7-0 run to establish a lead and UTC led the rest of the way.
A pair of free-throws by junior Ashlen Dewart stretched the Lady Mocs’ lead to 14 — their largest lead of the first half — but Chattanooga’s poor shooting in the final 20 minutes kept the Lady Gamecocks within striking distance.
"I wouldn't say we overlooked them or anything like that, we just didn't come out with energy like we needed to,” said junior Taylor Hall, who finished with seven points on 1-of-13 shooting. “We normally can get it going at some point throughout the game but we struggled to do that. We kind of survived this game, and I'm happy we got the win, but we have a lot of things that we need to work on and just get better at."
UTC, which shot 9-for-33 (27.3 percent) from the field and 1-for-14 (7.1 percent) from 3-point range in the second half, saw its lead wither down the stretch, but a seven-point margin was the closest Jacksonville State would come.
Dewart, the defending SoCon Player of the Week, led all scorers with 22 points and brought down a game-high nine rebounds, senior Kayla Christopher added 10 points, while senior Kylie Lambert and sophomore Ka'Vonne Townes each chipped in nine.
The victory for Chattanooga was its fourth straight, matching the team’s longest win streak of the year — its 4-0 start to open the season.