CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior Kayla Christopher (Oliver Springs, Tenn.) drained the first of three consecutive 3-pointers past the midway mark of the second half, to spark a 14-0 UTC run capped off by freshman Red Payne's (Memphis, Tenn.) trey propelling the Lady Mocs to a 74-68 win over UNCG at the McKenzie Arena Monday night.
The win was Chattanooga's 11th straight this season and 24th consecutive at the Roundhouse. The Lady Mocs improve to 21-3 overall and 14-1 in Southern Conference play. The Spartans, fresh off an upset win at Samford, fall to 5-18 on the year and 2-12 in league action.
Christopher started the run with a defensive rebound. She fed freshman Tatianna Jackson (Atlanta, Ga.) on the fast break, but the shot wouldn't fall. Junior Ashlen Dewart corralled the rebound but was surrounded by defenders. She fed it to Christopher in the left corner who snapped the nets and brought the crowd to its feet giving the Lady Mocs the lead for good at 51-50 with 8:40 to play.
Christopher nailed her second from the same corner just moments later and got her third in the run after a timeout with 7:10 to play putting Chattanooga up 57-50. Dewart converted an inbounds pass for a layup followed by Payne's 3-pointer to give the Lady Mocs their largest lead of the game at 62-50 with 4:55 to play.
Chattanooga would hit the 12-point mark twice more in the closing minutes, but the Spartans were able to cut it to six with four seconds to play on a layup from Janae' Stevenson.
Four Lady Mocs hit double figures led by Christopher's 20-point effort and five assists. She was 5-of-10 from beyond the arc and now has 216 career 3-pointers, tied with former Lady Moc Katasha Brown (2002-06) for second on UTC's all-time list and third in the Southern Conference.
Dewart recorded her fourth double-double of the year with 19 points and 10 rebounds. In her first start, Jackson was 4-of-8 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free throw line for 11 points and eight rebounds, five offensive, and four assists. Junior Faith Dupree (Knoxville, Tenn.) put in 10 points in just 12 minutes with a pair of assists. Combined with her performance Saturday, she has 21 points in just 19 minutes over two games. Payne had four assists and four steals on the night to go along with her three points and two rebounds.
The Lady Mocs started slow again, allowing UNCG to get out to an early lead. UTC battled back to get up front seven straight points from Dewart to make it 9-6 at the 15:32 mark of the early period. Over the next 2:19, there would be two ties and two lead changes. UTC grabbed the lead with 13:13 on the clock on a layup by Jackson to make it 16-14, but the Spartans would not go away.
Chattanooga's largest lead of the first half was 27-20 at the 5:22 mark on a 3-pointer by Christopher but UNCG's Jessica Collins would hit two of her four first-half 3-pointers to give the Spartans a 32-31 lead at the break.
The lead bounced back and forth over the first few minutes of the second half but UNCG forced five Chattanooga turnovers and outscored UTC 7-0 to take a 43-37 lead with 13:47 to play. The Lady Mocs got the next seven points with Dupree hitting a layup and Christopher putting in five to put UTC back out front, briefly, at 44-43.
Collins answered with her fifth 3-pointer of the game to retake the lead, 46-44. After two more ties and two more UNCG leads, Christopher started the 14-0 run and Chattanooga never trailed again.
Chattanooga outrebounded UNCG 42-23 with 19 offensive boards for 19 second chance points. The teams were evenly matched in the paint with 40 points apiece and the Spartans forced 19 UTC turnovers for a 17-14 advantage in points off turnovers. The Lady Mocs had a season-high 21 assists and got huge numbers from their bench for a second straight night, outscoring UNCG 17-3.
Next weekend, Chattanooga will make its final trip to the College of Charleston for a SoCon matchup as the Cougars are departing for the CAA next season. The game is set to tip off at Noon and will be carried online at ESPN3.com. Larry Ward, the "Voice of the Lady Mocs" will have the call live on ESPN 105.1 "The Zone" and live stats will be available at GAMEDAY CENTRAL at GoMocs.com.