Third-Seeded Lady Eagles To Take On #2 Newberry On Saturday In SAC Tournament Semifinals
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – After punching
its ticket to the semifinals of the 2010 Food Lion South Atlantic
Conference Tournament Wednesday night with a 70-66 win over
Wingate, the third-seeded Lady Eagles are set to face a Newberry
team that defeated Lincoln Memorial 78-56 yesterday in the league
Carson-Newman (23-5) and Newberry (20-7) will meet one another in the nightcap of Semifinal Saturday at 8:00 p.m., at the Catawba Valley Community College Arena in Hickory, N.C.
“We’ve had two great games in the regular season,” said Head Coach Dean Walsh. “Round three is going to be a war. We play two contrasting styles. It’s not going to be a blowout, but something’s going to give.”
The two teams split their regular season matchups, with Carson-Newman winning on Jan. 2, 86-73, while the scarlet and gray came away with the victory on Feb. 1, 67-64.
“They have a tremendous inside game and a good solid perimeter that shoots the ball well,” added Walsh. “They want to slow the pace, they don’t turn it over and they are one of the best rebounding teams in the nation.
“The converse of that is that we want to run, we’re not as physical, we have the depth advantage and we can be a good rebounding team when we want to be. We’re one of the top turnover margin teams in the country.”
In the first game, Carson-Newman placed five players in double figures including senior forward Shari Buford (Hampton, Ga.) with 15 points, nine rebounds and five blocks. Senior guard Ashley Kyle (Jefferson City, Tenn.) had 12 points, seven assists and three steals as the Lady Eagles outshot Newberry 48 percent to 38 percent from the floor.
Helen McKinney (Owensboro, Ky.) paced the scarlet and gray with a career-high 32 points while LeAnne Watson (Stone Mountain, Ga.) had a double-double with 19 points and 12 boards.
In the second matchup, both Watson (20 points, 12 rebounds) and Anita Bulcher (Russia, Ohio) (15 points, 10 rebounds) had double-doubles as Newberry outrebounded C-N, 40-35, including 15-8 on the offensive glass, and forcing the Lady Eagles into 23 turnovers.
Junior guard Mandy Mendenhall (Kingston Springs, Tenn.) had 15 points, hitting on 3-of-4 from behind the arc, while Buford chipped in 11 points and 11 rebounds.
“We had a five-point lead at their place and kinda relaxed during the second half and they took it to us,” continued Walsh. “We can’t let that happen; we have to play our style and pace.”
The game has implications for the NCAA Division II Southeast Region tournament as well. Carson-Newman currently sits fourth in the rankings while Newberry is eighth.
“They’re in the conference semifinals for a reason; they’re ranked in the region for a reason; they won 12 conference games this year for a reason,” added Walsh. "They are a very good team and are very well coached. It’s going to be one heck of a ballgame.”
The other semifinal will feature top-seeded and defending tournament champion Lenoir-Rhyne (21-6) against #4 Tusculum (18-9). The two teams split their regular season meetings, but L-R holds the advantage with three victories in the last four contests between the two schools.
“It makes for a great Semifinal Saturday,” added Walsh. “Tusculum is playing extremely well and Newberry has been super hot. I don’t know that us and L-R are at the top of our games right now and we’re going to have to be to win Saturday.”
-Joe Matthews, C-N Sports Information