CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Kayla Christopher poured in 20 points, including nine straight on back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers that sparked a key second-half run, to lift the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women to a 74-68 win over visiting UNC Greensboro Monday night at McKenzie Arena.
The victory is the eleventh straight for the Lady Mocs (21-3, 14-1 in Southern Conference), and 24th straight at McKenzie Arena dating back to the 2010-11 season. With Davidson losing Monday night to College of Charleston, UTC now owns a full two-game lead in the SoCon standings.
"They're killing me," head coach Wes Moore said after his team's third straight sluggish start. "We're struggling with slow starts and digging ourselves some early holes, but Kayla Christopher hit some big, big 3-pointers for us. Once we got the lead, though, I think it gave us some confidence.
"It was a fun game for the fans, I'm sure, but not so much for the coach."
Jessica Collins hit five 3-pointers to help the Spartans build a six-point lead with 13:47 to play in the second half, but for the second time in the last three games, Christopher took the game into her own hands to turn the tide.
The Chattanooga senior buried a shot from the right wing on three straight possessions, turning a 50-48 deficit into a seven-point UTC lead with 7:10 left.
Ashlen Dewart added a layup and freshman guard Alicia "Red" Payne followed with her first career 3-pointer for a double digit lead to cap the 14-0 Chattanooga run that put the game out of reach.
"It was a big stretch for us. It was important for us to step up and hit some shots," Christopher said. "We knew we could get back into it. It just gave us the confidence to get back in the game."
Dewart finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds, a big reason UTC owned a 42-23 rebounding advantage in the game. Tatianna Jackson, making her first career start, also finished in double figures with 11 points and Faith Dupree chipped in 10 points in just 12 minutes off the bench.
Christopher hit five 3-pointers in the game to pull even with Katasha Brown for second on UTC's all-time list with 216 in her career. She is also now tied for third on the SoCon's all-time list, though she is nearly 100 behind Chattanooga's all-time leader, Brooke Hand (315).
You can draw up plays all day long, but players have to make the plays and knock the shots down," Moore said. "It's pretty amazing, as much as we were struggling, for her to keep her head up. She did the same thing Saturday against Elon, just taking over in the second half and refusing to lose.
"That is what seniors and great leaders do. Kayla is quiet, but she understands the game extremely well and has a feel for it."
The victory was career win No. 550 for Moore, with 350 of them now coming at UTC.
Chattanooga next hits the road for a noon tip-off this Saturday at the College of Charleston. The game will be televised by ESPN3.com
Can't find what you're looking for?