published Saturday, January 26th, 2013

Lady Mocs try to flip ASU series edge

Appalachian State's Courtney Freeman, middle, blocks Kylie Lambert of UTC, left, from scoring.
Appalachian State's Courtney Freeman, middle, blocks Kylie Lambert of UTC, left, from scoring.
Photo by Staff File Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

For a decade, Appalachian State seldom presented much of a challenge to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team.

From January 1999 to February 2010, the Lady Mocs reeled off 26 straight wins against the Mountaineers 21 of those by 10 or more points. The tables haven't turned all the way, but they've definitely turned.

Appalachian State has won four of the last five meetings, including a 77-52 thumping last March in the semifinals of the Southern Conference tournament. The Mountaineers (12-3, 6-1) won the SoCon outright in 2011 and shared the title last season with Davidson.

"The last couple of years haven't ended as good for us as we'd like," Lady Mocs forward Taylor Hall said before UTC's 66-60 win at Samford on Wednesday. "We just want to get back on track, and we know those two teams [Samford and Appalachian State] have always been strong and they're going to be two tough games."

UTC (15-3, 8-1) is in first place in the SoCon standings and has won five straight games heading into today's 6 p.m. matchup against the Mountaineers at McKenzie Arena. ASU also has won five in a row.

"We're looking forward to the challenge," UTC coach Wes Moore said. "We [went to Samford] and showed some toughness, which you have to do. With every win the next game gets bigger. It's going to be a great game.

"I hope we can get a lot of people out -- I'd love to have over 3,000 people there for this game. It ought to be a fun one to watch."

This will be UTC's third game in seven days, while Appalachian State will be playing for the first time since routing UNC Greensboro by 23 points last Sunday.

"This is a tough stretch," Moore said. "We haven't had a whole lot of rest time, and our kids have really had to gut it out."

ASU coach Darcie Vincent said the time off has been good for her team, which has played just two home games this month. She said preparing for UTC is tough regardless of how much time a team has.

"They do what they do and they do it very well," she said. "For the last two or three years that we've been there, it's been a heck of a battle and it's been great basketball games."

The Lady Mocs have won 20 straight games at the Roundhouse. Their last regular-season home loss was 57-56 to Appalachian State in February 2011.

about John Frierson...

John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...

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