UTC Southern Conference actionStaff Photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press - Wofford's Rachel Brittenham (13) fights for the ball with Lady Moc Kayla Christopher, right, in first half action Saturday at McKenzie Arena.
The gaudy individual stats belonged to Wofford on Saturday. The win belonged to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Led by Kayla Christopher’s 17 points, the third-seeded Lady Mocs advanced to the semifinals of the Southern Conference women’s basketball tournament at McKenzie Arena with a 68-58 win over the No. 11 Terriers.
After missing their first nine shots to start the game, the Lady Mocs (17-13) led by 13 points at halftime and 21 with 7:57 to play. There were a few uneasy moments down the stretch as Wofford (8-22) cut the lead to 10 with 1:46 left, but UTC was able to finish the win.
“I felt like, since we were the last team to [start] play in the tournament, that we would come out a little rusty — and we did,” Lady Mocs coach Wes Moore said.
UTC has won 28 straight games against Wofford, its longest run of dominance against any Southern Conference team.
Mahagony Williams paced the Terriers with 18 points and 19 rebounds, while Rachel Brittenham dished out 11 assists. Williams grabbed 14 of her rebounds in the second half as the Lady Mocs went through some lulls once the game was well in hand.
Christopher had a solid all-around game, too. She hit 6 of 10 shots — the rest of the Lady Mocs were 17-of-51 — had five rebounds and team highs of five steals and four assists.
“It’s just a whole new level, for me especially, when it comes to tournament time,” she said. “I just try to be extra aggressive.”
Whitney Hood, who along with Christopher received an all-conference plaque before the game, had 11 points and nine rebounds. Tenisha Townsend also scored 11 after going 4-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final minute.
The Lady Mocs’ bench outscored Wofford 16-6, and backup forward Capriee Tucker contributed half of those points. Tucker averages just 5.8 minutes a game, but she tends to make the most of those minutes.
The redshirt sophomore, who missed last season with a knee injury, hit three of six shots from the field and was 2-of-4 from the line in nine minutes Saturday. Last month at UNC Greensboro, she scored 14 points in 16 minutes when Hood picked up two quick fouls.
“Coach Moore harps on it all season that you hve to be ready when your time is called,” Tucker said. “Whether it is supporting the team on the bench or going in for Hoody for a few minutes, I just want to help and get us where we need to go.”
The Lady Mocs will take on No. 2 seed Samford (23-7) in the second semifinal today at 2:30 p.m. The Bulldogs won both meetings during the regular season, including 60-53 at the Roundhouse on Feb. 2.
John Frierson is in his fifth year at the Times Free Press and fifth 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 ...