With about four minutes remaining in the first half of Saturday’s Southern Conference game against Furman, 6-foot-3 University of Tennessee at Chattanooga junior forward Ashlen Dewart jacked up an errant 3-pointer, much to the dismay of coach Wes Moore.
The primary cause for his frustration was the dominance she was having in the paint.
Dewart finished with 21 points and seven rebounds, and the Lady Mocs improved to 2-0 in the conference with an 83-40 victory in McKenzie Arena.
“He didn’t seem too happy about it,” Dewart joked about the 3-point attempt.
There wasn’t much else for Moore to be unhappy about. Dewart had her third 20-point game in the last four contests, and the team’s 83 points were the fourth time they’ve topped the 80 plateau this year.
Furman was limited to 24 percent shooting from the floor, including a paltry 2-for-23 (9 percent) in the second half.
“I try to play that way every game, because I know that if I have an impact on the inside, it creates open shots for the guards,” Dewart said. “Tonight they did a great job of feeding me.”
UTC (6-1) shot 56 percent from the floor in both halves and forced 21 turnovers in a dominating performance that led to 29 Lady Mocs points. They started the second half with a 24-2 run, which included the first 15 points.
Dewart had 15 points and six rebounds at the break. UTC was able to benefit from her solid position in the paint on post-ups, while also capitalizing on the guards’ penetration skills, which led to some easy layups by the junior forward when Furman posts were forced to help.
When the Lady Paladins (3-3, 0-1) sealed off the post, openings were created for shots on the perimeter or for the guards to drive for layups.
“We were told to go in and attack tonight,” UTC guard Alex Black said. “Some of our best offense comes from when we go with four-out, one-in.”
Teshia Griswold scored exactly half of Furman’s points, shooting 5-for-9 in the first 20 minutes, but was limited to five free throws in the second half.
Ten of the 11 Lady Mocs scored, with freshman guard Alicia Payne — who didn’t attempt a shot — the only exception. Black tied a career high with 14 points and added three assists, while Kayla Christopher score 12 points. Meghan Downes had nine points for the Lady Mocs, and despite being limited to four points, Taylor Hall had a career-high seven assists and led the team with eight rebounds.
“Sometimes you just have days like this,” Moore said. “We shot 56 percent from the floor, and our defense was very good. We applied a lot of pressure and forced turnovers, so I’m proud of our defense. They struggled from the floor. ... Even when they had open shots, they weren’t connecting, but I think our defense had a lot to do with it.
“I’m proud of our overall effort tonight.”