Lady Mocs take time to reflect on banner season - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Lady Mocs take time to reflect on banner season

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Ashlen Dewart couldn't help herself.

Nebraska ended her junior season Saturday night in College Station, Texas, but the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga junior center still made plans to watch the Cornhuskers take on Texas A&M Monday night in the second round of the women's NCAA Tournament.

Dewart and the Lady Mocs could have played in that game. Instead, they officially started the offseason.

"I have to watch that game," Dewart said Monday afternoon, long before sixth-seeded Nebraska upset the third-seeded Aggies to advance to the Sweet 16. "I can't cut off basketball. It's impossible not to watch."

Just like it's impossible not to think about what could have been if Chattanooga had been able to hold its nine-point second-half lead on Saturday.

As one of UTC's two seniors, Kylie Lambert will have more time to think about such possibilities with her college career coming to a close.

However, she'll have more time to reflect and enjoy all of her team's accomplishments, as well.

"There are still those what-ifs, but we can't let that get to us because our season is something to be proud of," Lambert said Monday. "We set records. We beat teams we weren't supposed to. It was a great season."

One of the best in program history, actually.

The Lady Mocs tied a single-season school record with 29 wins thanks to a 19-game win streak that was snapped in the first round loss. Among those wins were a home win over powerhouse Tennessee and a road rout of another SEC foe, Alabama.

Chattanooga finished 19-1 in a balanced Southern Conference, doubling up its crowns by following the regular season title with its first SoCon Tournament title since 2010.

They're all accomplishments Moore finds more worthy of reflection than Saturday's finale.

"I'm not going to let one game taint what they've done all season," Moore said in a phone interview Sunday. "The effort, night in and night out, they brought it. If you're going to win 29 games, you're going to have to show up every night.

"I was very blessed to work with a group of kids like this."

Moore remained in his home state of Texas after the tournament for some quiet reflection. The rest of the team returned to Chattanooga on Sunday to begin the offseason.

There was no practice. No team meetings or film sessions.

Senior Kayla Christopher joked on her Twitter page she was going to eat candy all day while deciding what to do with her spare time.

She ended up going to the gym to work out.

That was the mindset of this year's team. Led by Lambert and Christopher, two tough and gritty four-year starters, UTC never quit. And the duo is not about to let it happen now.

Lambert said she plans to speak with the large junior class about stepping into leadership roles next year, and she already spent time with the underclassmen to make sure they understand how important it is for Chattanooga to get to the NCAA Tournament.

"I talked to the freshman before we went. I just wanted to let them know this is something to be proud of, but it's something they need to look forward to and always fight for again in the future," Lambert said.

And that future is bright.

Chattanooga returns three starters and every key bench player next season on a roster that will boast six seniors.

"I think the moment we lost, I think most of the team thought, 'We're coming back,'" Dewart said. "It was good to get this experience under our belt. We would have liked to win, and we could have won, for sure, but we know we've set the bar really high.

"Now we want to surpass it next year."

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