GREENSBORO, N.C. --- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga defeated UNCG 65-53 and, coupled with a Samford win over Elon, moved into a tie with the Phoenix for third place in the Southern Conference standings.
The win moves the Lady Mocs to 14-13 overall and 11-7 in league play while the Spartans fall to 13-13 overall and 10-8 in the SoCon.
Chattanooga junior Whitney Hood (Meridian, Miss.) was whistled for two quick fouls and spent the last 16:15 of the first half on the bench. Sophomore Capriee Tucker (Ft. Payne, Ala.) entered the game at the 13:21 mark and over the remainder of the period dropped in a career-high 12 points in the first half. She added another bucket in the second and closed out the game with 14 points and was 5-for-5 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free throw line.
The Spartans weregot out to a 16-10 lead on scoring from six different players with 12:11 to play in the first half. Chattanooga pulled within two on baskets from freshman Taylor Hall (New Tazewell, Tenn.) and sophomore Kylie Lambert (Etowah, Tenn.) to cut the score to 16-14. Jazz Weaver hit a short jumper to put UNCG back up by four, but Tucker converted an old-fashioned 3-point play to cut the score to 18-17.
UNCG again stretched its lead on a jumper from Kendra Smith, playing for the first time since an injury sidelined her for two games, but it would be Tucker who would, yet again, get Chattanooga within a point, 20-19, with 9:53 until the break.
Junior Tenisha Townsend drained the first of her two 3-pointers to give Chattanooga its first lead since the opening minutes of the game, 22-20, but the Spartans would once again pull ahead with five straight points to take a 25-22 advantage.
Tucker hit a layup to get within a point with 5:43 to go and followed with a pair of free throws just 39 seconds later to give UTC the lead. UNCG briefly reclaimed the lead before sophomore Kayla Christopher (Oliver Springs, Tenn.) drained a 3-pointer to put the Lady Mocs up 29-27 and UTC would never trail again.
In the second half, Chattanooga used a 12-0 run to take command of the game and never let the Spartans within single digits the remainder of the game.
Hood stepped back into the lineup and went to work scoring eight of the 12 points and went on to score a game-high 18 points with two assists and two steals. She led four players in double figures with Tucker scoring 14, Townsend had 11 points, five rebounds and three assists. Christopher had 10 points on the day and dished out a game-best four assists. Hall posted her second straight double-digit rebounding game pulling down a game-high 10 rebounds and Bailey Dewart had eight to go along with her eight points.
Sarah Folwell was the only UNCG player in double figures with 10 points. Kendra Smith, Dayshaun Richbow and Jazz Weaver each had eight and Amanda Leigh put up seven points. Monique Floyd had a team-best six rebounds and Janae' Stevenson had four.
The Lady Mocs outrebounded the Spartans 35-29 and shot 53.3 percent (24-of-45) from the field. Chattanooga had a 26-22 advantage in the paint over UNCG while the Spartans converted 18 UTC miscues into 24 points.
The Lady Mocs will face Elon Monday night at Alumni Gym. The Phoenix fell by three to Samford this afternoon and are now tied with Chattanooga for the third spot in the league standings. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. and can be heard live on 106.9 FM. Live stats will be available on the official website of Chattanooga athletics, GoMocs.com.