BOONE, N.C. — The Chattanooga women’s basketball team closed out the regular season with a convincing win at Appalachian State— a game Lady Mocs coach Wes Moore wasn’t too sure about.
He was actually second-guessing himself beforehand.
“I did a horrible job preparing this team the last two days,” Moore said. “I was so focused on the things (Appalachian State) did offensively, and it’s more about what they do defensively. I woke up about five o’clock this morning, tossed and turned and thought ‘what have I done?’ ”
He'd have caught a couple extra hours of sleep if he'd have seen what was coming
“The kids just came out and bailed me out,” Moore said. “They played determined.”
UTC junior Ashlen Dewart recorded her seventh double-double this season in the 69-45 victory over her former team, while junior Taylor Hall added 12 points and six rebounds.
“It’s all about the players,” Moore said. “I told them in the locker room, ‘you all did a great job.’ As I said before, I didn’t really do a good job preparing them. They bailed me out, they forgave me, and we’ll move on.
Chattanooga (26-3, 19-1 SoCon), which came into Saturday’s game having already clinched the Southern Conference regular-season title, score nine-unanswered points in the game’s first three minutes. And while the Mountaineers mounted a quick comeback, drawing to within 17-14 on senior Courtney Freeman’s layup with 11:05 left in the first half, the Lady Mocs buried ASU before the break.
A 3-pointer from sophomore Ka’Vonne Townes capped a 17-4 UTC run with just over six minutes remaining in the opening period, and the Lady Mocs led 44-27 at the half. Appalachian State strung together another quick run, but this time it was cut short well before it pulled within striking distance.
A Dewart free-throw ended App State’s 6-0 spurt to start the second half, and the Mountaineers managed just 12 points in the final 17:24. Dewart led all scorers with 13 points in just 19 minutes of action, and she also brought down a game-high 11 rebounds.
“It was a good homecoming, coming back party or whatever, so I was glad to see her enjoy some success,” Moore said of Dewart’s return to Holmes Convocation Center. “We didn’t talk about it a whole lot. It’s an unusual situation, but we’re very thankful that she’s wearing Chattanooga colors, that’s for sure.”
The Lady Mocs, whose lead swelled to 26 on two occasions in the second half, shot 27-of-57 (47.4 percent) from the field, while holding ASU to 17-of-61 (27.9 percent). Every player on Chattanooga’s roster saw action, and all 12 scored.
“That’s the thing, we do have a great bench, and we thought that would be a factor as well,” Moore said. “Some of the better teams in our conference, their top players have to play 38 or 39 minutes, so I think our bench makes a big difference in that regard.”
UTC held a 30-6 advantage in bench scoring, and it more than doubled the Mountaineers’ points in the paint (42-20).
Raven Gary scored a team-high 12 points for the Mountaineers (19-8, 13-6), senior Anna Freeman also scored in double figures, adding 10, while senior Courtney Freeman, older sister of Chattanooga sophomore Kayla Freeman, added six.
Michael Murphy covers UTC athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelNooga.