ASHEVILLE, NC (GoMocs.com) -- Queen Alford, Keiana Gilbert and Alicia Payne combined for 50 points to lead the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga past Western Carolina 74-56 in the quarterfinal round of the Southern Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament in Asheville, N.C., Thursday afternoon.
Alford (Decatur, Ga.) led all scorers with 20 points, making 6-of-12 from the field and was 6-of-6 from the free throw line. Payne (Memphis, Tenn.) had 15 points with five rebounds and four assists. She was 8-of-8 from the line and sophomore Gilbert (Pulaski, Tenn.) also chipped in 15 points with a team-high eight rebounds and four assists. She drained three of Chattanooga’s six 3-pointers.
The game started with one tie and four lead changes in the first quarter before the Mocs went on a 10-1 run over the final 4:38 to lead 16-10 after one. Payne and Alford each had 14 points in the second quarter for the Mocs to give UTC a 37-23 lead at the half.
Chattanooga pushed its lead to 66-39 after three. The Mocs shot 61.5 percent in the third frame, making 8-of-13 from the field including a pair of 3-pointers. However, it would be an 11-of-12 performance from the charity stripe that would give UTC such a large lead midway through the second half. Payne made six straight from the line in the period.
The Mocs were 25-55 from the field, making 45.5 percent of its shots and Chattanooga head coach Jim Foster was able to clear the bench in the fourth quarter. In the paint, the Mocs outdueled Western Carolina 34-28 and outscored them 25-10 off turnovers, forcing 20. The Mocs had 15 second chance points on 12 offensive boards, while the Cats had eight with the same off the glass.
UTC’s Jasmine Joyner had nine points, five rebounds and three blocked shots, moving up to 305 for her career. Sophomore Aryanna Gilbert (Pulaski, Tenn.) dropped in eight points with five boards. She had two steals and two blocked shots for the Mocs.
Chattanooga improves to 22-7 overall and the Catamounts fall to 7-22 on the year. The Mocs advances to the semifinal round and will take on the winner of the No. 3 Samford/No. 6 Wofford matchup Friday at 1:15 p.m.
Channel 3 sports director Paul Shahen will have live updates on Eyewitness News as the Lady Mocs continue to advance.
Stay with WRCB Sports on-air and online for continuing coverage of the SoCon tournament.