CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- University of Tennessee at Chattanooga junior forward Ashlen Dewart (Spartanburg, S.C.) missed her second free throw in the final seconds, dashed into the lane to grab the rebound and get the put back as time expired to lead the Lady Mocs to a 64-53 Southern Conference women's basketball win over the College of Charleston at the McKenzie Arena Monday night. Dewart posted a game-high 26 points, her seventh 20+ scoring game this season, and pulled down eight rebounds.
Chattanooga improved to 12-3 overall and 5-1 in SoCon action while the Cougars dropped below.500 to 7-8 on the year and 3-3 in league play. The win is Chattanooga's 20th straight at McKenzie Arena. Chattanooga went 13-0 in the Roundhouse last year and is currently 6-0 on its home court this season.
The Lady Mocs led wire-to-wire for the second straight game and were up by as much as 21 points twice at the start of the second half. UTC started the game on a 10-2 run then closed out the opening frame on an 18-4 sprint to lead 35-17 at the break.
Chattanooga started the latter period making all four of its attempts with Dewart scoring six in the run to put UTC up 43-22 with 16:18 to play. UTC then went 1-4over the next 2:50 with junior Taylor Hall (New Tazewell, Tenn.) putting in a short jumper at the 13:28 mark. That would be the Lady Mocs last field goal for the next 11:25. Dewart and seniors Kayla Christopher (Oliver Springs, Tenn.) and Kylie Lambert (Etowah, Tenn.) combined for six free throws in that time before Dewart made a layup with 2:03 to play, ending the field goal drought.
While Chattanooga went cold, the Cougars put together a 21-4 run to get to within two points. Cathryn Hardy hit a jumper at the 13:17 mark of the second half to spark the run that was capped off with 3:35 to play with a layup from Christy Hewatt to cut Chattanooga's lead to the closest since early in the first half at 51-49.
Over the final minutes of the game, Chattanooga's effort at the free throw line paid off as the Cougars put Chattanooga at the line 12 times. UTC was 9-of-12 from the charity stripe over the final three minutes and Christopher made all six of her attempts in the final minute while going 8-of-8 for the game.
The two teams were evenly matched in the paint with Chattanooga gaining a slight 26-24 edge. The Cougars' bench outscored the Lady Mocs 10-5 and CofC had six fast break points. Chattanooga outrebounded Charleston 42-37 who average a conference-best 45.6 per game. The Lady Mocs edged College of Charleston 11-10 on the offensive glass and outscored them 13-11 on second chance points. Chattanooga forced 18 CofC turnovers and had nine points off the miscues. The Lady Mocs dished out 15 assists to 14 turnovers and had a season-high tying six blocked shots.
Dewart was 9-of-19 from the field and 8-of-12 from the free throw line. Christopher was 3-of-7 from the floor with a pair of 3-pointers and 8-of-8 from the free throw line while grabbing six boards, dishing out a team-high five assists and grabbing three steals.
Hall was the third Chattanooga player in double figures with 12 points, three rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots. Lambert pulled down a season-high 10 rebounds for the second straight night. It is her third game with 10 rebounds this season. Freshman Alicia Payne (Memphis, Tenn.) dished out four assists and grabbed two boards while classmate Tatianna Jackson (Atlanta, Ga.) had five rebounds.
Chattanooga shot 45.5% (15-33) in the first half but struggled in the second making just 7-of-24 (29.2%) and was 3-of-12 from beyond the arc. After shooting 49 percent (24-49) from the free throw line over the last three games, the Lady Mocs were 17-of-23 (73.9%) Monday night.
The Cougars had three players in double figures led by Latisha Harris with 13 points and seven rebounds. Cathryn Hardy had 12 points and a team-best nine rebounds while Alyssa Frye put in 11 points making 3-of-9 from beyond the 3-point arc. Jillian Brown, playing 39 minutes, had a game-high six assists. College of Charleston shot 26.9 percent (7-of-26) in the first half, but rebounded with a 40.6 percent effort in the second half making 13-of-32 from the field. The Cougars were 10-of-16 from the free throw line and made 3-of-17 from the 3-point line.
Chattanooga will hit the road to take on league-leading Davidson Friday night at Belk Arena. The game will be carried live on ESPN 105.1 "The Zone".