CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- University of Tennessee at Chattanooga junior Ashlen Dewart (Spartanburg, S.C.) posted her fourth 20-point game and just missed a double-double to lead the Lady Mocs to a 72-59 win over Jacksonville State Wednesday night at the McKenzie Arena. The Lady Mocs improve to 8-1 on the year while the Gamecocks fall to 0-9 overall.
Dewart scored a game-high 22 points in the win and added nine rebounds in the effort while senior Kayla Christopher, with 10 points, put up a pair of 3-pointers and dished out three assists.
Jacksonville State outscored Chattanooga 7-2 to start the game, but Dewart started a 14-4 run with a layup that was capped off 4:41 later with a 3-pointer from Christopher at the 13:15 mark of the first half to give the Lady Mocs a 16-11 lead.
The Gamecocks knotted it up at 16-16 with five straight points from Amanda McCarthy but Chattanooga had an answer again. Sophomore Ka'Vonne Towns (Lilburn, Ga.) scored all nine of her points in a 16-6 run and junior Meghan Downes (Newnan, Ga.) was fouled on a 3-point shot and made all of her shots from the charity stripe to put UTC up 32-22 with 6:12 to play in the first.
The Lady Mocs would lead by as much as 14 in the opening period and carry a 42-31 lead into the break.
In the second half, the shots were falling as much. UTC was 16-of-40 in the first half for a 40 percent effort, but the second half saw Chattanooga make just 9-of-33 (27.3%) from the field that included a 3-pointer from senior Kylie Lambert (Etowah, Tenn.). who had nine points, six rebounds and three assists in the win.
Junior Taylor Hall (New Tazewell, Tenn.) went 3-for-4 from the free throw line for six points and seven rebounds and Lambert went 3-for-5 from the field with a 3-pointer for nine points and six boards.
Jacksonville State shot 43.9 percent from the field (25-of-57) for the game after a 48 percent (12-of-25) second half performance. The Gamecocks got to within six points, 55-49, with 7:47 to play, but Chattanooga pushed the lead back out to double digits, 62-51 at the 3:58 mark.
JSU's Miranda Cantrell hit a 3-pointer and Destany McLin connected on a layup to get back to within seven, 63-56, with 2:27 to play, but the Lady Mocs would make seven free throws and a layup by Lambert over the final 2:11 to give Chattanooga a 13-point win.
Chattanooga outrebounded the Gamecocks 45-41 and pulled down 23 offensive boards. That translated into 24 second chance points to Jacksonville State's 14 off of 11 offensive rebounds. UTC forced 15 JSU turnovers for 11 points and edged JSU in the paint 34-30. The Gamecocks got 28 points from the bench led by Peyton Hisel's 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting and seven rebounds.
Amanda McCarthy had a team-high 13 points and seven assists while Gia Banks added eight boards and four points in 16 minutes.
Chattanooga had 15 assists on the night and just five turnovers and six steals. The Lady Mocs were 6-of-33 from beyond the 3-point arc and put up its second-best free throw shooting effort making 16-of-22 (72.7%). The win was Chattanooga's fifth straight at home this season and 18th consecutive home court victory dating back to the start of the 2011-12 season.
The Lady Mocs will return to action next week when they travel to Auburn to take on the Tigers at 8 p.m. Eastern Time at Auburn Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 19. The game will be carried live on ESPN "The Zone" 105.1 FM.