CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (GoMocs.com) --- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga will welcome Furman Saturday afternoon to open a three-game home stand at the McKenzie Arena. The Mocs will host the Paladins in the first of a doubleheader with the men's team.
Chattanooga is 16-3 on the year and 4-0 in league play. The Mocs are on a 12-game win streak and have won 38 consecutive Southern Conference games dating back to Jan. 12, 2013 with a win at Georgia Southern.
The Mocs lead the Southern Conference in scoring defense, allowing opponents just 52.2 points per game, ranking seventh in the NCAA. Chattanooga has a 10.1 point scoring margin against its opponents, also a league best. The Mocs rank first in the nation for fewest fouls per game at 11.1 and are 10th for blocked shots.
Chattanooga's field goal percentage as well as 3-point shooting improved over the last week. UTC drained a season-high 12 3-pointers, making 75 percent of its attempts. The Mocs rank first in the league in scoring defense, scoring margin, blocked shots, assists, turnover margin and 3-point field goals made. They are second for field goal percentage defense, rebounding defense, steals and assist-turnover ratio.
Chelsey Shumpert has led the team in scoring in each of the last three games and has a team-best 11.4 points per game. She has a team-best 45 3-pointers. Keiana Gilbert averages 11.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Jasmine Joyner, ranked fourth in the nation for blocked shots, is third on the team in scoring with 10.6 points per game and leads the team in rebounding with 8.5 per game. She has 81 blocked shots and 25 steals. Four Chattanooga players, led by Alicia Payne's 55, have more than 40 assists per game. Shumpert has 50, Gilbert with 45 and Ka'Vonne Towns rounds it out at 42. Five UTC players rank among the league's best in steals. Gilbert and Towns have 37 each followed by Shumpert's 33, Payne's 27 and Joyner's 25.
Furman, picked to finish second in the league by the SoCon coaches, got off to a rocky start with three straight losses against conference foes. They righted the ship, however, with a win at Mercer last Monday. The Paladins lead the SoCon in rebounding margin and defensive rebounds while ranking second for scoring offense (68.8), 3-point field goal percentage (37.7), assists (13.7) and 3-point field goals made (6.7).
After starting the regular season at 9-3, the Paladins are 3-5 over their last eight games that include four SoCon matchups. Furman outscores opponents 68.8-64.9 and averages 42.2 rebounds compared to 37.7 by its opponents.
Three Paladins average double figures led by Whitney Bunn with 14 points per game. She is also the league-leader for assists with 138 on the year and has a team-best 24 3-pointers. Brittany Hodges is second on the team in scoring with 13.5 points per game and leads the SoCon in rebounding with 9.2 boards per game. Holli Wilkins, daughter of former UTC standout Gerald Wilkins, is third on the team in scoring with 12.0 points per game and has 4.5 rebounds per game.
Chattanooga vs. Furman
In the last meeting between the two teams, the Mocs rallied from a 12-point second half deficit to come away with a 47-40 win over the Paladins. Chelsey Shumpert was the lone Moc in double figures with 15 points. Jasmine Joyner had eight points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots. UTC shot 29.7 percent from the field and was outrebounded by Furman 40-38. Furman placed Hodges and Bunn in double digits with 15 and 12 points respectively. Cierra Carter had a game-high 13 rebounds and bunn was held to just one assist. The Paladins shot 35.4% for the game, making just 7-of-24 in the second half.
The game is set to tip off at 3 p.m. Eastern Time at the McKenzie Arena. It will be carried live on ESPN3.com. Larry Ward will have the call on 96.1 FM on your radio dial, while the station can be heard on your smart device on iHeart Radio. Live stats and other links will be available at GoMocs.com.