TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (UTC) -- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women outscored Indiana State 23-2 over the final 6:06 of the game to come away with a 75-54 win over the Sycamores Friday night at the Hulman Center, wrapping up play in the Preseason WNIT.
The Lady Mocs are 2-1 on the year and will travel to Cancun, Mexico next week for the Triple Crown Sports Cancun Challenge at the Moon Palace Resort. Indiana State falls to 1-2 overall.
Junior Kayla Christopher and senior Whitney Hood combined to scored 35 second half points after both were held scoreless through the first half.
Christopher went 8-of-9 in the second half making 3-of-4 from beyond the 3-point arc, including one deep in NBA range, and was 3-of-3 from the free throw line while dishing out a game-high four assists.
Hood was in foul trouble early and only played five minutes in the first half. She started the second half and picked up two quick fouls to put her back on the bench with just over three minutes gone in the half. However, Lady Mocs head coach Wes Moore took a gamble and put her back on the court for the final 11 minutes of the game and it paid off with 13 points from his forward.
After trailing by four at the break, the Lady Mocs started the second half with an 8-0 run to take a 36-32 lead with 16:07 to play. Hood started the scoring with a layup followed by six straight points from Christopher off a 3-point play and a quick 3-pointer.
Indiana State stepped up and retook the lead with a 7-0 run behind four points from Jessica Valley to go up 39-36 with 12:33 to play. After Christopher sank a 3-pointer at 12:15 to tie it up, the game would remain tightly contested over the next 5:21 where it would get tied up for the 11th and final time on a jumper from ISU's Deja Mattox to make it 52-52.
With 6:06 to play, Hood hit a short jumper to give the Lady Mocs the lead for good and senior Tenisha Townsend hit her fourth jumper of the game with 1:39 to play to cap a 15-0 scoring run for UTC. After the Sycamores scored on a layup with Natasha Zurek with 1:08 to play, the Lady Mocs eight more points on the board for the 21-point win.
Christopher led all scorers with 22 points and had three boards. Townsend was 4-of-5 on the night, all from beyond the 3-point line, and was 2-for-2 from the free throw line for a season-high 14 points and Hood had 13 points and six rebounds. Junior Kylie Lambert (Etowah, Tenn.) had a team-high 10 rebounds and just missed a double-double with nine points. She had a team-high four assists and three steals. Sophomore Taylor Hall (New Tazewell, Tenn.) had seven points and nine boards along with three assists, two blocks and two steals.
Freshman Ashley Southern stepped up big in the first half with Hood on the bench and hit a pair of 3-pointers and a layup for a career-high eight points in her third game.
The Lady Mocs shot 63 percent (17-of-27) in the second half from the field and was 12-of-14 from the free throw line, making 9-of-10 in the second half. On the boards, Chattanooga pulled down 35 to the Sycamores' 33 and dished out 18 assists to 15 turnovers with 10 team steals.
UTC opens the Cancun Challenge at 11 a.m. Eastern Time against Idaho State on Thanksgiving morning next week and conclude play late Friday afternoon at 5 p.m. against Cincinnati.
Information provided by UTC Sports Information and GoMocs.com.
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