published Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Ashlen Dewart leads UTC women past Jacksonville State

Lady Mocs Ashlen Dewart (44) runs a drill during practice at the Chattem Practice Facility.
Lady Mocs Ashlen Dewart (44) runs a drill during practice at the Chattem Practice Facility.
Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

JACKSONVILLE, Ala. -- Jim Foster has been experimenting with a bunch of different lineups, trying to find the right combination for his University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team. He had a simple solution Tuesday night against Jacksonville State: Just give the ball to Ashlen Dewart.

The 6-foot-3 senior had 25 points and 10 rebounds, and the Mocs used a 15-4 second-half run to pull away from the host Gamecocks and win 68-53. Dewart was 11-for-17 from the field and 3-for-4 from 3-point range.

Taylor Hall and Meghan Downes each scored 10 points, with Hall adding 11 rebounds and eight assists. The Mocs shot 52.6 percent from the floor as a team and outscored their opponents 46-19 in the paint, but the Gamecocks (2-7) were able to hang around for most of the game because of 16 UTC turnovers.

JSU held a number of one-point leads throughout the second half -- the last on a jumper by Destany McLin to make it 41-40 with 13:05 left -- but the Mocs went on a 6-0 run, attacking the basket and getting layups by Hall, Dewart and Alicia Payne.

The Mocs' lead grew to 16 before the final buzzer.

"We played a lot harder in the second half," Foster said by phone."I thought our defense tightened up, and we did a good job of taking good shots on the offensive end.

"[Jacksonville State] had a problem matching up with Ashlen, and she did a good job of understanding when she had a good shot. She played at a nice tempo and had some great opportunities."

Foster wasn't too pleased with a first half in which his team had nine turnovers, which nearly equaled its per-game average of 9.9 that led the nation coming in. A nine-day lapse between games, combined with final exams that just ended, could have played a part.

"It always does," Foster said. "Finals always present a dilemma because your hours change and you're up later."

UTC (6-3) limited the Gamecocks to 35 percent shooting for the game, 32 percent in the second half. Guard Candace Morton led JSU with 17 points and had eight rebounds and five assists. Forward Gia Banks had 13 points and post Miranda Cantrell finished with 11 on 4-for-17 shooting.

The Mocs begin Southern Conference play Saturday, visiting UNC Greensboro (4-4) for a 2 p.m. tipoff.

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.

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