CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior Taylor Hall (New Tazewell, Tenn.) led six players in double figures Friday night at the McKenzie Arena in front of 3,633, the 10th largest attendance in Chattanooga women’s basketball history. The crowd cheered UTC on to an 82-70 win over Alabama in the season opener for both teams and gave the Lady Mocs’ their 27th consecutive win at the Roundhouse.
Hall matched her career-high of 24 points set in last year’s season-opener against Tennessee. She was 9-of-19 from the field and drained all six of her free throw attempts. Senior Faith Dupree (Knoxville, Tenn.) was 5-of-8 off the bench and recorded her first career double-double with 10 points and a career-best 13 rebounds. Sophomore Alicia Payne (Memphis, Tenn.) smashed her career-high scoring 11 points and was 5-of-6 from the charity striped while draining of Chattanooga’s six 3-pointers early in the game.
Chattanooga never trailed in the game and would lead by as much as 26 points late in the first half. Alabama pulled to within one point, 12-11, at the 12:17 mark of the first half. Dupree hit a jumper with 11:42 to play in the first half, sparking a 14-4 run over the next 5:12 that was capped off by the first of two 3-pointers from Payne to make it 26-15 with 7:05 to go in the half.
The Lady Mocs continued to stymie the Alabama offense, allowing just six points over the remainder of the half and led 45-21 at intermission.
Chattanooga maintained its lead throughout most of the second half but the Tide rallied over the final 6:19 outscoring UTC 22-11 behind 10 points from Shafontaye Myers, more than half of her 19 points and Ashley Williams scored eight of her 10 points over the run as well.
Alabama outscored UTC 48-30 in the paint but the Lady Mocs held a 17-12 advantage off turnovers, forcing the Tide into 11 and had 14 second chance points on 11 offensive rebounds. Chattanooga’s bench put up 24 points compared to Alabama’s 12.
Junior Ka’Vonne Towns (Lilburn, Ga.) had 10 points and seven rebounds along with three assists and two steals while senior Meghan Downes (Newnan, Ga.) and sophomore Tatianna Jackson (Atlanta, Ga.) each put in 10 points and snared three boards.
Chattanooga was 29-of-60 (52.9%) from the field and 18-of-22 (81.8%) from the free throw line while Alabama went 30-of-64 from the field and shot 70% (7-of-10) from the charity stripe. UTC made 6-of-10 3-pointers in the first half as it pulled away from the Tide, but were 0-of-3 in the second half.
The last time six Chattanooga players scored in double figures was in January 2000 against Appalachian State.
Chattanooga will travel to Knoxville on Thursday next week to take on the Lady Vols. Last season UTC opened play at home against UTK and won its first game in 19 tries against Tennessee. The game is set to tip off at 7 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tickets are on sale through the McKenzie
Arena box office (423-266-6627) or online at GoMocs.com.
Chattanooga 1-0: next up 11/14/13 at Tennessee
Alabama 0-1: next up 11/11/13 at Nebraska