CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior Kayla Christopher (Oliver Springs, Tenn.) scored a game-high 18 points, all in the second half, to lead the Lady Mocs to a 60-46 win over Samford Wednesday night at the McKenzie Arena. The win is Chattanooga ninth straight this season and 22nd consecutive in the Roundhouse.
The Lady Mocs improve to 19-3 overall and 12-1 in Southern Conference action while the Bulldogs even out their record at 11-11 and are 8-5 against the conference.
Christopher went 7-of-11 in the second half with four 3-pointers and pulled down three rebounds in 31 minutes on the court.
With Chattanooga down 25-22 to start the second half, Christopher hit a jumper to cut Samford's lead to 25-24. The Bulldogs built their lead back to five, 31-26, but a 3-pointer from the senior guard pulled the Lady Mocs to within two at 31-29 with 17:04 to play. Following a free throw from Samford's Krista Stricklin, Christopher drained her second trey to tie it up 32-32 at the 15:39 mark.
Juniors Ashlen Dewart (Spartanburg, S.C.) and Faith Dupree (Knoxville, Tenn.) combined for the next four points as Chattanooga pulled out front by a narrow margin, but the Bulldogs had an answer and tied it up 36-36 on a jumper from Jazmine Martin at the free throw line.
Christopher, however, was in the zone and hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Chattanooga 42-36 lead with 12:13 to play and Chattanooga would never trail again. The Bulldogs' Taylor Reece hit a pair of jumpers to pull Samford to within two points, 42-40, but that's as close as it would be the remainder of the game.
Freshman Tatianna Jackson (Atlanta, Ga.) was the only other Chattanooga player in double figures, dropping in 10 points in the victory making 4-of-7 from the field with five rebounds and three steals. Junior Alex Black had nine points and four rebounds making 4-of-4 from the charity stripe while junior Taylor Hall (New Tazewell, Tenn.) grabbed 10 rebounds. Freshman Alicia Payne (Memphis, Tenn.) dished out a game-high five assists.
Samford had three players in double figures led by Hannah Dawson with 15 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double. She was joined in double digits by Jazmine Martin with 13 and Taylor Reece with 12. Dawson and Martin combined for 20 of Samford's 25 points in the first half, but were held to just four points apiece in the second while Reece had 10 of the Bulldogs' 21 second half points.
Samford started the game with four straight 3-pointers and got two more in the first half. In the latter stanza, Chattanooga held the Bulldogs without a trey in seven attempts. The Lady Mocs also improved its offense in the second half shooting 50 percent (14-of-28) and making 4-of-10 from beyond the arc after shooting 28.6% in the first.
The Lady Mocs dominated the paint 34-14 and outscored the Bulldogs 21-1 off the bench. But Samford turned 13 Chattanooga turnovers into 10 points compared to UTC's four points on 11 miscues. On the boards, Chattanooga outrebounded Samford 46-35 and converted 14 offensive boards into just six points while Samford scored eight points off 11 offensive rebounds.
The Lady Mocs will remain at home to host Elon Saturday on Legend's Night at the Roundhouse. Former Mocs and Lady Mocs players, coaches, managers and trainers will be in attendance. The former Lady Mocs will be presented at halftime of the women's game. UTC will tip it up at 5 p.m. at McKenzie. Call the McKenzie Arena box office for tickets or log onto the official website of Chattanooga Athletics, GoMocs.com for more information.