CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- University of Tennessee at Chattanooga sophomore Kayla Christopher (Oliver Springs, Tenn.) led three Lady Mocs in double figures in a 68-58 win over No. 11 Wofford in the quarterfinals of the Southern Conference Tournament at the McKenzie Arena Saturday morning.
The Lady Mocs improve to 17-13 overall and Wofford falls to 8-22 on the year.
Christopher scored 11 second-half points on her way to a team-high 17 and nabbed five of Chattanooga's 12 steals. Junior Whitney Hood (Meridian, Miss.) just missed out on a double-double with 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds and junior Tenisha Townsend chipped in 11 from the point and had just one turnover in 27 minutes of play.
Chattanooga had a week off before taking the court Saturday and it showed with a slow start. The Lady Mocs trailed 7-1 through nearly the first six minutes of the game before Townsend drained her 3-pointer at the 14:16 mark of the first half to spark a 10-0 run. Sophomore Kiara Smith (Rome, Ga.) hit a trey from the left wing at the 11:51 mark of the first half to give Chattanooga a 9-7 lead and the Lady Mocs never trailed again.
Wofford rebounded to tie the game at 11-11 with 8:48 in the first but Chattanooga closed out the half on a 20-7 run, capped by a jumper from Christopher at the buzzer, to take a 31-18 lead into intermission.
Chattanooga went on a 7-0 run to start the second half and got out to a 20-point, 38-18, lead behind five points from Christopher. Wofford would not go away and cut into the Lady Mocs' lead getting as close as 42-29 at the 13:11 mark. However, over the next six minutes, the Lady Mocs outscored the Terriers 13-5 and gained its largest lead of the game at 55-34 with 7:57 to play.
Wofford again cut into Chattanooga's lead closing the gap to 59-48 at the 3:07 mark of the game behind the strength of two 3-pointers from Maddie Helms. Helms drained her fourth 3-pointer of the game in the waning moments of the game to cut the lead to 67-58, but the Lady Mocs would prevail for their 28th consecutive win over the Terriers.
Chattanooga redshirt junior Bailey Dewart (Spartanburg, S.C.) had seven points and seven rebounds while sophomore Capriee Tucker (Ft. Payne, Ala.) had eight points, two rebounds, an assist and a steal in just nine minutes of play.
The Lady Mocs outscored Wofford in the paint 30-26 but were outrebounded 43-40 with each team hauling in nine offensive boards. Chattanooga converted that into 11 second chance points while the Terriers had eight. Wofford converted 10 Lady Mocs' miscues into 11 points, but Chattanooga was not as fortunate with just nine points on 15 Wofford turnovers. Chattanooga's bench posted 16 points to Wofford's six.
Wofford's Mahagony Williams led all scorers with 18 points and 19 rebounds including seven off the offensive glass. Helms went 4-of-7 from beyond the arc and had 15 points and five rebounds while April Moorhouse dropped in 10 points and five rebounds.
No. 3 Chattanooga will move on to the semifinals Sunday afternoon to take on No. 2 Samford at 2:30 p.m. The Bulldogs swept the season series from Chattanooga, but the Lady Mocs are 5-1 against Samford in the Roundhouse. The game will be televised by SportSouth (Comcast Chattanooga 53, EPB Chattanooga 33, Direct TV 649 and Dish Network 437). Larry Ward the "Voice of the Lady Mocs" will have the call on ESPN 105.1 FM or go online for live stats and live streaming audio.