Twelfth-Ranked Lady Eagles Look To Get Back On Track Wednesday Night Against Catawba
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – When No. 12
Carson-Newman takes the court tomorrow night, the Lady Eagles will
have to contend with something they haven’t experienced so
far this season, a loss. If history repeats itself, the 16-1 (6-1
SAC) team will be itching to go on another streak and demonstrate
what it’s capable of.
C-N drops four spots after Saturday’s 78-67 loss to Lenoir-Rhyne after spending the last two weeks in the top 10 in NCAA Division II. Carson-Newman was one of the final six schools in Division II to be undefeated; four teams remain perfect on the year.
The Lady Eagles will face the Lady Indians of Catawba (12-6, 5-2 SAC) in South Atlantic Conference action Wednesday at 6:00 p.m., at Holt Fieldhouse, for their first back-to-back home stretch since Nov. 20-21. The contest will be broadcast on AM 1300 WMTN out of Morristown and can be streamed on the web by visiting cneagles.com.
“We haven’t gotten too high on any of the wins and we’re not going to downplay our loss,” said Carson-Newman head coach Dean Walsh. “L-R exposed some things that we’re going to work on this week and hopefully we bounce back. The only thing we have to see is, ‘how’s our character?’ Based on yesterday’s practice, we have that edge to us that we have something to prove.”
Despite going 1-1 last week, the Lady Eagles are ranked in the top 50 nationally in eight statistical categories as a team. C-N is fourth in blocks (5.7 bpg), seventh in turnover margin (+7.71), ninth in steals (14.4 spg) and 10th in scoring offense (80.3 ppg). The Lady Eagles are also 21st in three-point field goal defense (26.8%), 22nd in scoring margin (+15.9 ppg), 23rd in field goal percentage (44.8%) and 44th in assists (16.0 apg). The team leads the SAC in each of these categories as well.
Seniors Shari Buford (Hampton, Ga.) and Ashley Kyle (Jefferson City, Tenn.) are both listed in the top 25 in the country statistically. Buford is seventh in blocks (2.9 bpg) and 13th in rebounding (10.7 rpg) while Kyle is 11th in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.24) and 23rd in assists (5.1 apg).
Carson-Newman has four players averaging in double figures in scoring. Junior Mandy Mendenhall (Kingston Springs, Tenn.) leads the team at 15.9 points per game while Kyle (13.9), Buford (12.6) and sophomore Zoriah Williams (Calera, Ala.) (10.2) round out the top scorers. Williams has posted two straight double-doubles as well for the Lady Eagles.
“We got some things cleaned up Monday and hopefully that continues today so we can be ready for a very good, very athletic Catawba team,” said Walsh. “Everybody knows Dana Hicks is good, but you also have to contend with the Long sisters (Kisha and Nisha). They have a transfer from Serbia (Milica Ivanovic) that is a shooter and has the ability to score. They come off the bench with good shooters and are aggressive and attack hard and we have to contain and take care of.”
Hicks is averaging 14.8 points and 10.4 rebounds to lead the Lady Indians in both categories and is averaging 17.3 points and 13.0 rebounds in SAC play. Nisha Long and Ivanovic are each scoring in double figures at 13.9 and 13.4 points per contest, respectively, while Long is pulling in four assists and two steals per game as well.
Catawba leads the all-time series with Carson-Newman, 29-19, and have won five of the last seven contests between the two schools.
for this week's WBCA USA Today/ESPN Division II Top 25
-Joe Matthews, C-N Sports Information