CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- Furman's leading scorer Teshia Griswold drained a 3-pointer in the opening seconds against the Lady Mocs for a quick 3-0 lead, but it would be the only one the Paladins would get as the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga claimed an 83-40 win in Southern Conference women's basketball action and its 17th straight home court win.
Chattanooga improves to 6-1 overall and 2-0 in league play while the Paladins even out their record at 3-3 and 0-1 in the SoCon. UTC junior Ashlen Dewart (Spartanburg, S.C.) topped the 20-point mark for the second straight game and the third time out of the last four games, led the Lady Mocs to the win with a game-high 21 points and added seven rebounds, three offensive and was 3-of-3 from the free throw line.
Junior Alex Black (Memphis, Tenn.) tied her season-high with 14 points, making 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, 6-of-8 from the field and matched her career-high for steals with three. Senior Kayla Christopher scored in double figures for the fifth time this season with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting with two steals and two assists. Junior Taylor Hall pulled down a game-best eight rebounds and dished out a career-high seven assists while recording two blocked shots and two steals.
After the Paladins opening 3-pointer, Chattanooga's Dewart, Black and Christopher combined for a 7-0 run to take the lead. Furman managed to knot it up twice with the last at 9-9 on a layup from Janice Roberts at the 16:13 mark of the first half, but Dewart would kick it into overdrive. The Spartanburg, S.C., native scored nine of Chattanooga's points in a 13-2 run to give the Lady Mocs their first double-digit lead of the game at 22-11 with 11:01 to go in the opening stanza.
Furman responded with a couple of quick layups to cut the lead back to 22-15, but that's the closes the game would get as Chattanooga closed out the first half outscoring the Paladins 20-13 to lead 44-28 at the half.
Chattanooga scored the final five points of the first half and continued its roll at the start of the second half reeling off the first 15 points of the period with five steals to take a 31-point lead, the largest of the game at that point, 59-28 with 14:31 to play.
The Lady Mocs allowed just 12 points from Furman in the second half and held the Paladins to just two field goals on 23 tries (8.7%). Furman was 8-of-12 from the free throw line in the second half and 11-of-15 for the game.
Chattanooga was 33-of-59 from the field (55.9%), its best shooting percentage of the year, and was 12-of-18 from the free throw line. Sophomore Kayla Freeman (Carlton, Ga.) scored a career-high seven points sinking seven of her eight attempts from the charity stripe.
Chattanooga had 18 assists to 15 turnovers and 16 steals led by Black's three and forced 21 Furman turnovers. In the paint, the Lady Mocs outscored Furman 46-16 and had 29 points off turnovers compared to the Paladins' nine.
UTC won the rebounding battle for the second straight game, 45-27 and had 17 offensive rebounds that translated into 15 second chance points compared to Furman's 10 off 16 offensive rebounds. The Lady Mocs had 12 fastbreak points and the bench outscored the Paladins 26-6.
The 43-point win is Chattanooga's second-best margin of victory over the Paladins since UTC defeated Furman 82-38 on December 9, 2008 on the road.
The Lady Mocs will begin fall exams Monday before traveling to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to take on the Crimson Tide. The game is set to tip off at 3 p.m. at Foster Auditorium and will be carried live on 105.1 FM.