Chattanooga, Tenn.,– Two career-high’s and a double-double from Moses Johnson, Atlanta, helped the women’s basketball team pull away from Belmont in Wednesday morning’s Education Day game at McKenzie Arena.
The 62-53 win broke UTC’s first two-game losing streak since 2013.
“It was a big win,” Sophomore guard Keiana Gilbert, Pulaski Tenn., said. “The loss against South Florida, we didn’t really play too good in the second half of that game. We just had to practice, bounce back and get better at the things we didn’t do good in that game.”
It was a struggle early for the Mocs as the Bruins started hot; making three consecutive UTC losses a real possibility.
Belmont’s six-foot-three center contributed heavily to the hot start; garnering a lot of attention down low, while grabbing offensive rebounds that turned into easy scores. The Bruins led Chattanooga 12-0 in second chance points at the half.
UTC took their turn to get hot in the second quarter when they strung together an 11-2 run to take command of the lead, but the pesky Bruins wouldn’t go away. By halftime, the Bruins went back to controlling the paint, and trailed 32-30 at the intermission.
“At halftime, we talked about getting a stop and that’s what we had to focus on going back into the game,” Gilbert said. “We have been working on practicing running transition offensively, and I think we’ve been doing good at it in practice. It worked for us in the game today.”
The third quarter continued to carry the back-and-forth theme, but the final frame turned Chattanooga’s as the Mocs outscored the Bruins 15-9 to secure the 800th win in program history. Gilbert finished tied for the game-high in points with 15 on 6-10 shooting. Johnson also scored 15, a career high, while grabbing a career-high 12 rebounds as well. It was also the first career double-double for Johnson. Alicia Payne, Memphis, and Jasmine Joyner, Southaven, Miss., finished with nine points each.
“I thought she (Moses) did a very good job with her aggression and going to the glass, along with being patient,” UTC head coach Jim Foster said. “Three assists and a turnover playing the way she plays is a big deal. Sometimes that energy carries over and you can play a little too fast offensively, but she did a great job of tempo offensively.
“It’s the process with this group, and I give them a lot of credit for adjusting,” Foster added. “A lot of teams lose two starters and they fold. We’ve played tough. We played hard, hold ourselves accountable and that’s a good job. Now we’ve got to get into our bench a bit, and we will as we progress hopefully and expand who we are.”
The Mocs will be back in action Friday in the UNCW Christmas Classic against East Carolina in Wilmington, N.C.
*Header photo by Chattanooga Athletics