CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- It was ugly, but it was a win.
Ashlen Dewart scored 22 points to lead a lackluster effort by the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women in a 72-59 win over winless Jacksonville State Wednesday night at the McKenzie Arena.
The matchup had all the makings of a "trap game" with the Lady Mocs (8-1) coming off a big win at Alabama and looking forward to a trip to Auburn next week, and it nearly proved to be just that.
"I wouldn't say we overlooked them or anything like that, we just didn't come out with energy like we needed to," said junior forward Taylor Hall, who finished with just six points. "We normally can get it going at some point throughout the game but we struggled to do that.
"We kind of survived this game, and I'm happy we got the win, but we have a lot of things that we need to work on and just get better at."
Kayla Christopher was the only other UTC player in double figures with 10 points, while Kylie Lambert and Ka'Vonne Towns added nine apiece.
The Lady Mocs led throughout, but never by more than 14 points. Jacksonville State (0-9) pulled within six midway through the second half, but could never climb any closer.
"In the first half they weren't thriving out there. They were just existing, and they have to get out of that," said head coach Wes Moore. "Halftime wasn't much fun for them, and even that didn't work. It shouldn't matter who you play. I always want to go show out and be a good player, so I don't relate to that."
Chattanooga let the Gamecocks hang around while shooting just 27.3-percent (9-of-33) from the field in the second half, and 18.2-percent (6-of-33) overall from behind the 3-point arc.
The Lady Mocs were able to offset their struggles somewhat on the glass, where 23 offensive rebounds led to 24 second-chance points. But even that effort started to fade with the shots not falling in the second half.
"That always seems to happen, and I don't understand it. If anything, when you're frustrated about shots not falling, you should be working harder in other areas of the game," said Moore, who did acknowledge a few positives in his team's effort at the free throw line (16-of-22) and lack of turnovers (five).
Taylor Hall, who was the season's first SoCon Player of the Week after standout showings against Tennessee and Belmont, made just one of 13 shots from the floor.
Chattanooga managed to hit 16-of-22 free throws, but Dewart (9-of-15) and Lambert (3-of-5) were the only Lady Mocs to shoot better than 50-percent from the field.
"We're going to have to come into practice with energy and with a good attitude because Coach Moore is definitely not happy with this performance, and we aren't happy with it either," Dewart said. "We are a team full of veterans. We know better. Practice is going to be however we make it.
"If we come in with good attitudes and a lot of energy, he will be fine. If we come in sluggish like we did today, it's not going to be a good practice."
The Lady Mocs will return to action next week when they travel to Auburn to take on the Tigers at 8 p.m. Eastern Time at Auburn Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 19.
Can't find what you're looking for?