ASHEVILLE, N.C. --- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s basketball team ran its win streak to 24 games, downing Elon 77-44 in the Southern Conference Tournament semifinal round to advance to its 15th league tournament final. UTC will take on Davidson for the second straight year.
Chattanooga led wire-to-wire in the matchup, getting out to an 8-0 advantage to start the game, and grew the lead to 19-6 with scoring from six different players. Elon’s Kelsey Harris and Jennifer Rhodes combined for six quick points, however, to pull the Phoenix to within seven at 19-12 with 8:51 remaining in the half.
Chattanooga responded with a 13-2 run, capped off by a pair of free throws from Ashlen Dewart (Spartanburg, S.C.) to give UTC a 32-14 lead, its largest of the opening stanza, with 1:59 remaining. The two teams traded points before Elon’s Zora Stephenson drained a long 3-pointer to make it a 36-21 halftime lead for the Lady Mocs.
The second half started with UTC going on a 14-3 run with Dewart scoring seven of her 14 points to expand its lead to 50-24 at the 14:28 mark. After a pair of free throws from Elon, Chattanooga went on a 12-2 run capped off by a layup from sophomore Tatianna Jackson (Atlanta, Ga.) and assisted by Dewart on an inbounds play to give Chattanooga its largest lead of the game for the second time at 62-28.
Elon scored the next 10 points to get to within 25, 62-37, but that’s the closest it would be as Chattanooga outscored Elon 15-7 down the stretch for the final 33-point margin.
Senior Taylor Hall (New Tazewell, Tenn.) recorded her 13th double-double of the year with 18 points and 11 rebounds, adding four assists and two steals. Dewart was the only other UTC player in double figures with 14 points to go along with seven boards and three assists. Freshman Jasmine Joyner, in 11 minutes on the court, had nine points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots, moving her into lone possession of sixth place on UTC’s all-time chart for blocked shots with 49.
Kelsey Harris was Elon’s lone player in double figures with 10 points. She had six rebounds and a game-high four steals. Freshmen Jennifer Rhodes and Lauren Brown each added eight points and three rebounds with Brown adding four assists.
The win was the Lady Mocs’ 24th straight on the year, tied for third best in school history. Chattanooga advances to its 15th Southern Conference Tournament final. No. 3 seed Davidson defeated No. 7 seed Western Carolina 74-67 to advance to the finals for the second straight year.
The game will tip at 5 p.m. and be aired on CSS and ESPN3.