CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (GoMocs.com)--- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team makes a brief return to the friendly confines of the McKenzie Arena to host Western Carolina Saturday afternoon. The game is set to tip off at 2 p.m. at the Roundhouse. Live stats will be available at GoMocs.com. Follow all the action with streaming audio and video on the SoCon Digital Network. The game can also be found at 96.1 FM The Legend and at the iHeart Radio app.
The Mocs are 14-3 overall after opening the Southern Conference slate with back-to-back wins over Wofford and Furman on the road. While the Mocs are scoring just under 60 points per game, they are first in the SoCon for scoring defense, allowing opponents just 52.5 per game. That ranks 12th in the nation. From the field, UTC is shooting 41.6 percent and 32.7 from beyond the arc. UTC ranks 12th in the nation for blocked shots and lead the SoCon with 6.2 per game.
UTC has been outrebounded 11 times this season, winning nine of those matchups. The Mocs average 13.5 assists per game and has a league-best 0.9 assist-turnover ratio. Chattanooga leads the NCAA for fewest personal fouls with 11.5 per game and is second in the SoCon for steals with 9.3 per game.
Sophomore Jasmine Joyner is ranked second in the nation for blocked shots with 72 this season. She holds the UTC record for a single season and single game while ranking second all-time at Chattanooga. Her 72 is seventh in a single season for the SoCon. She is third on the team in scoring with 10.5 points per game and has a team-best 8.6 rebounds per game.
Freshman Keiana Gilbert leads the team in scoring with 11.3 per game and is shooting 52.2 percent from the field. She is second on the team in rebounding with 5.6 per game and has a team-high 33 steals. Sophomore Chelsey Shumpert leads UTC with 37 3-pointers and is second on the team in scoring with 10.8 points per game. She has 38 assists and 29 steals. Senior Ka'Vonne Towns is averaging 8.1 points per game and has 33 steals while junior Alicia Payne has 49 assists compared to 22 turnovers for a SoCon best 2.1 assist-turnover ratio, ranking 40th in the nation.
SCOUTING WESTERN CAROLINA
The Catamounts come to Chattanooga with an 8-9 overall record. In the SoCon opening weekend, Western Carolina hosted Mercer and Samford, falling to both. WCU outscores its opponents by 1.4 points per game, averaging 64 points per game. From the field, the Catamounts are shooting 38 percent and are 31.4 percent from beyond the arc. Western Carolina averages 14.3 free throws per game, making 71.9 percent of its attempts.
On the boards, the Catamounts are outrebounded 37.4-41.6 (-4.2) but sport a turnover margin of +3.2. Western Carolina ranks second in the league with a 0.9 assist-turnover ratio and averaged 6.5 steals per game.
Justin Taylor leads the team in scoring with 17.7 point per game and has 37 assists. Sherae Bonner leads the team in rebounding with 9.4 per game and is third on the team in scoring with 7.4 points per game. Ace Easter is second on the team in scoring with 8.8 points per game. Ali Lane has a 49 assists to just 19 turnovers and accounts for 14 steals.
CHATTANOOGA vs. WESTERN CAROLINA
The two teams have met 76 times since 1979 and both were inaugural members of the Southern Conference in 1982. UTC leads the series 65-11 and have won the last eight games. On the road, the Mocs are 26-6 against the Catamounts with the last loss in overtime in 2010.