CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Ashlen Dewart scored 26 points and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team converted its free throws down the stretch to thwart a College of Charleston rally in a 64-53 Southern Conference win Monday night at McKenzie Arena.
The Lady Mocs (12-3, 5-1 in SoCon) led by as many as 21 points in the second half, but went more than ten minutes without a field goal as the Lady Cougars ripped off a 21-4 run.
"We made things interesting, that's for sure," said head coach Wes Moore. "I'm proud of the way our kids stepped up when they had to. We got a little sloppy there for a while, but Ashlen hit some big buckets and Kayla Christopher knocked down free throws in the last few minutes when we had to have them."
Dewart scored 16 of her points in the second half, and her layup with 2:03 to go snapped UTC's drought from the field to give the Lady Mocs a 55-49 lead.
Chattanooga then hit seven of eight free throws in the final minute to seal the win. UTC finished 17-of-23 at the charity stripe in the game, including 15-of-21 in the second half.
"Coach Moore said early in the second half that it's not over yet. They fought back and you have to give them credit for being tough and making a game of it," said Christopher, who finished a perfect 8-for-8 at the free throw line. "I'm really proud of us though for making big plays when we had to and knocking down our free throws.
"We're a veteran team, so it's easy for us to keep our composure. I think that is really important."
Christopher added 16 points, while Taylor Hall finished with 12. Kylie Lambert scored just one point, but recorded 10 rebounds for the second straight game.
Dewart put an exclamation point on the victory by fighting off two Charleston defenders while following her own missed free throw and sinking the game's final bucket as time expired.
"We have a lot of veterans on this team, and that helps us keep our composure," Dewart said. "It does rattle you when that lead gets away, but it comes down to being a leader on this team and being a veteran.
"I think we have some great leaders here with our seniors in Kayla and Kylie, and that definitely showed tonight."
Chattanooga never trailed, and seemed poised to run away after closing the first half on a 14-2 run for a 35-17 lead at the break. But UTC made just seven field goals in the second half and shot 29.2-percent from the floor to let the Cougars pull as close as 51-49 on Christy Hewatt's layup with 3:35 to play.
"Our kids have been through the wars, but when things start to unravel and the other team starts to get a little happy, I definitely wasn't comfortable. That's for sure," Moore said. "So it got a little scary there down the stretch. But again, some people stepped up."
Latisha Harris led three College of Charleston players in double figures with 13 points. Cathryn Hardy added 12 and Alyssa Frye finished with 11.
The Lady Mocs will try to pull into a tie for first in the SoCon when they travel to Davidson this Friday for a 7 p.m. ET tip. Davidson is just 7-7 overall, but leads the league with a perfect 4-0 conference mark.
Elon, Samford and Appalachian State also have one SoCon loss apiece.