CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga used a pair of runs to pull away from Westenr Carolina Monday night at the McKenzie Arena for a 68-46 Southern Conference victory. UTC improves to 21-3 on the year and 13-0 in league play while the Catamounts drop to 11-13 overall and 5-8 in SoCon action.
The game started slow with Western Carolina getting out to a 5-3 lead on Chattanooga. The two teams combined for six missed shots in the first 2:57 before UTC senior Alex Black (Memphis, Tenn.) drained a 3-pointer from the right corner. WCU’s Rena Wakama evened it out nearly a minute later with a trey and the Catamounts took its only lead of the game on a jumper from Shauna Terry with 15:32 to play in the first half to make it 5-3.
Sophomore Alicia Payne (Memphis, Tenn.) drove the lane with 13:57 on the clock to knot it up and spark a 16-0 run over the next 9:22 of the first. Junior Ka’Vonne Towns capped off the run with a layup to put UTC on top 19-5 with 4:35 to go in the opening stanza.
WCU’s Makensey Campbell and Lindsay Simpson combined for 11 of the Catamounts final 12 points of the first half, but UTC would maintain its double-digit lead going into the break leading 28-17.
After trading buckets to start the second half, Chattanooga senior Taylor Hall (New Tazewell, Tenn.) combined with Black and sophomore Tatianna Jackson (Atlanta, Ga.) to put together a 12-2 run to give UTC a 46-26 lead with 12 minutes to play.
Chattanooga dominated the paint 42-10 and scored 29 points off 19 Western Carolina turnovers. Western Carolina’s bench scored 31 of its 46 points led by Campbell’s 11 points. Simpson had a game-high 14 points making 4-of-9 from beyond the arc while Campbell was 3-of-3.
Chattanooga senior Ashlen Dewart (Spartanburg, S.C.) was 7-of-13 from the field with a game-high 14 points, matching the 14 put up by Black who was 4-of-4 from beyond the arc. Hall was the third UTC player in double figures with 10 points and a game-high seven rebounds to go along with six assists, two steals and a blocked shot.
Freshman Jasmine Joyner (Southaven, Miss.) had three blocked shots Monday night pushing her to a team-high 26, even with Hall on the year, and pulled down seven boards. Freshman Chelsey Shumpert (Paducah, Ky.) dished out a career-high seven assists as UTC reached 20 or more for the fifth time this season.
UTC was 28-of-53 from the field, 60.7 percent in the second half, topping the 50% mark for the eighth time this year, and 5-of-15 (33.3%) from the 3-point line. Western Carolina made 8-of-15 (53.3%) from 3-point land but shot just 14-of-51 from the field.
Chattanooga will hit the road to take on Furman Saturday, February 15 at 1:30 at Timmons Arena. The Paladins are third in the league at 7-5 and are 13-10 overall.