Halfway through its Southern Conference schedule, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is in an excellent position to end its championship drought that is now all of two seasons.
The Lady Mocs (16-3, 9-1) are tied with Davidson for first place in the standings and begin the final 10-game stretch of the regular season today against Furman (8-11, 4-6) in Greenville, S.C.
UTC, winner of six straight games, shares first despite some close calls in January. Those close calls were caused by long scoring droughts.
"It seems like we kind of build a lead and then go through one of those dry spells," said forward Taylor Hall, who had 15 points and 11 rebounds in UTC's last game, a 59-55 win against Appalachian State last Saturday.
Against the Mountaineers, UTC led by 15 with 15:41 to play. In its 60-56 win at Davidson on Jan. 18, UTC led by 12 with 14:16 remaining. At Samford on Jan. 23, the Lady Mocs raced out to a 17-2 lead and won 66-60.
All three games were different, but all included multiple stretches -- and there have been others this season -- when UTC went multiple minutes without a field goal. Against Appalachian State, UTC made two field goals after taking that 15-point lead.
With a week between games, UTC coach Wes Moore had time Monday and Tuesday to address the offensive issues.
"This time of year, defensively you're not changing a whole lot," he said. "But we spend a lot of time preparing for opponents and going over everything they run, so we don't have a lot of time to work on offense. That was the great thing about Monday and Tuesday."
Moore said UTC worked on executing its one-in, four-out offense better -- including feeding the post more effectively and having the post players distribute the ball better when double-teamed -- and put in some new plays.
"We added some new stuff this week offensively that we might run now," Moore said. "It gives people more to prepare for down the road."
For seniors Kayla Christopher and Kylie Lambert, they have 10 regular-season games left in their careers. Christopher said she wants UTC to finish the season as well as it began.
"I'm excited about where we are right now," she said. "I think we're in a really good position, and it's in our hands from here on out. I want to go out the right way, and I can't let this first half mean too much because the second half is just as important."
Today's game will be recorded by CSS and broadcast Sunday at noon.
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 ...