CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s basketball team rallied early and secured the program’s 800th win with a 62-53 victory Wednesday against Belmont on Education Day at the McKenzie Arena.
Junior Moses Johnson and sophomore Keiana Gilbert (Pulaski, Tenn.) combined for 30 of the Mocs points with Johnson recording her first career double-double. She had 15 points, 12 rebounds and three assists, all career-highs while Gilbert added 15 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots.
"I thought Moses did a very good job with her aggression and going to the glass, along with being patient,” Chattanooga head coach Jim Foster said. “Three assists and a turnover playing the way she plays is a big deal.
“Sometimes that energy carries over and you can play a little too fast offensively, but she did a great job of tempo offensively.”
The Mocs got out to a 6-4 lead on a jumper from freshman Nakeia Burks (Huntsville, Ala.) to start the game, but a 10-0 run by the Bruins put the Mocs behind 14-6 with 3:35 to go in the first quarter.
Just moments later, Gilbert connected on a jumper that sparked a 19-2 Chattanooga run over the next 7:13 that spanned two quarters and gave UTC a 25-16 lead with 6:04 to play in the first half. Belmont bounced back, however, and Chattanooga’s lead would be 32-30 at the break.
The two teams played nearly even in the third quarter with the Mocs’ lead growing by one point, 47-44 at the end of the frame.
Junior Queen Alford (Decatur, Ga.) hit a short jumper to start the scoring in the fourth quarter and four points later, the Mocs’ lead grew to 53-44 with 7:52 left in the game. Belmont got no closer than six points the rest of the way and UTC pushed its lead to as much as 11 points three times over the final three minutes.
Burks, in just her second career game, was 2-of-3 from the field with six points. Junior Jasmine Joyner (Southaven, Miss.) added nine points, five rebounds and three blocked shots, leaving her one block shy of fourth all-time in the Southern Conference. Senior Alicia Payne (Memphis, Tenn.) also had nine points with four assists and no turnovers. Alford had eight points and seven boards for the Mocs while adding two assists and two steals without a miscue.
The Mocs had a season-low four turnovers and outscored the Bruins 16-3 on miscues. Belmont outrebounded Chattanooga 36-34 and had 12 points off eight offensive boards compared to the Mocs five on 10 rebounds.
UTC was 25-of-62 on the day (40.3%) and 5-of-14 from beyond the arc. Belmont, led in scoring by Sally McCabe whose 14 points were the only double figures from the Bruins. She added six rebounds and two assists. Sierra Jones added eight points and a team-high eight rebounds.