published Monday, November 4th, 2013

UTC Lady Mocs ready for 10-second count

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    University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Mocs Women's Basketball head coach Jim Foster.
    Photo by C. B. Schmelter /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball played a more aggressive offensive style last season, which helped the Lady Mocs win the Southern Conference regular-season and tournament titles.

UTC pushed the ball up the court quickly and was immediately ready to attack an opening, if it wanted to do so. That was then-coach Wes Moore's choice. Starting this season, all women's teams have to at least get the ball across the midcourt line with some haste.

The NCAA approved in June the implementation of a 10-second backcourt rule, eliminating one of the unique features of women's college basketball -- a team's ability to hold the ball anywhere it wanted during the 30-second shot clock.

Teams now have 10 seconds, just like in men's basketball.

"I think it'll speed the game up some," UTC senior guard Meghan Downes said. "I think in close games and in big situations, when we need to press or need to get the ball in, I think it will play a big part."

The Lady Mocs will get to experience an official counting during their exhibition tonight at 7 against Lee University at McKenzie Arena.

The NCAA put the 10-second rule in to produce more possessions, which theoretically will lead to more scoring. UTC coach Jim Foster said the Lady Mocs have the players to play an up-tempo style.

"It's the way I think the game is headed, and we have a lot of complementary pieces to play that way," he said. "I think we'll start four players that can start our offense without any problems."

In the past, teams that applied full-court pressure could be disruptive and maybe get a steal, but they didn't have the additional ability to force a turnover via a 10-second call. Now they do.

"I think a lot more teams will start trying to press full-court now because there is more of a reward if they do," Lady Mocs senior point guard Alex Black said. "More teams will probably try to press us full court, but I think we'll be OK. We're implementing getting it out faster anyway and pushing it hard, so we've already got that mentality."

Officials this season also will be cracking down on physical play, which is also intended to generate more offense. According to an Associated Press report last week, Division I women's teams averaged a record low of 62.1 points a game last season.

Fouls have seldom been a problem for the Lady Mocs, who committed 454 last season, the fewest in the SoCon. Foster said his teams haven't been foul-prone, either.

"I think my team has led the country in fewest fouls committed on three occasions," the 35-year coaching veteran said.

After tonight's exhibition, UTC will have a few days to make adjustments and improvements before its season opener Friday against Alabama.

Contact John Frierson at jfrierson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him at twitter.com/MocsBeat.

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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