Lady Eagles To Face Lenoir-Rhyne In Southeast Region Quarterfinals
GREENWOOD, S.C. – No. 23 Carson-Newman will get its chance to avenge two regular season losses to South Atlantic Conference-rival No. 23 Lenoir-Rhyne Friday night as the Lady Eagles will take on the Bears in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Southeast Region Tournament. Tipoff for Friday’s game is at 8:30 p.m., at Finis Horne Arena on the campus of Lander University.
It’s gonna be a battle,” said Carson-Newman Head Coach Dean Walsh. “We have to find a better balance between our guard and post play than we have in the first two games. We also have to start the game better. We have gotten down early and battled back to come within a couple points with two or three minutes to go.”
C-N (23-6) is the fifth-seeded team in the tournament field while L-R (21-7) is fourth out of the eight-team field. The Bears defeated the Lady Eagles, 78-67 and 85-76, in their previous two meetings this year.
“We can’t come out flat and let them take it to us if we are going to give ourselves a chance to win,” added Walsh. “All things have to be set aside; we have to play as it is our last game and set aside injuries, fatigue and all the other distractions.”
Carson-Newman is led by three All-SAC selections in senior forward Shari Buford (Hampton, Ga.) senior guard Ashley Kyle (Jefferson City, Tenn.) and junior guard Mandy Mendenhall (Kingston Springs, Tenn.).
Buford, who was named to the Daktronics and WBCA State Farm All-Southeast Region teams earlier this week, was a first-team all-league choice while Kyle and Mendenhall were voted to the second team.
Buford is averaging a double-double on the season with 12.4 points, 10.7 rebounds and is sixth in the nation with 3.1 blocks per contest. Kyle leads the Lady Eagles in scoring with 13.8 points and 5.0 assists per game and Mendenhall is putting up 13.6 points per outing and has hit a team-high 41 three-pointers on the season.
C-N junior guard Katlin Moore (Fort Mill, S.C.) is averaging 10.8 points per game in her last four outings and has connected on eight of her last 14 attempts from beyond the arc.
Lenoir-Rhyne, the 2009-10 SAC Regular Season Champion, is led by eight seniors and has a backcourt to rival any in the region. Senior guard Brittany Mitch (McLean, Va.) was selected to the All-SAC First Team while senior guard Amber Holt (Charlotte, N.C.) and sophomore guard Cameron Sealey (Gastonia, N.C.) were each named to the second team. Holt recently added all-region accolades to her resume, being named to the Daktronics All-Southeast Second Team.
“They’re not a team that you can stop one player and hope to win because of their depth,” added Walsh. “It’s a game where you have to trade punches and hope that yours hit harder than theirs.”
Mitch leads the team in scoring (12.3 ppg), rebounding (6.3 rpg) steals (53) and blocks (27). Sealey and Holt are averaging 11.6 and 11.0 points per game, respectively, while senior guard Jami Safrit (Hickory, N.C.) has posted 10.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per contest on the season.
Both teams have impressive youth as C-N guard Candis Clear (Memphis, Tenn.) and L-R forward Precious Elkins (Conyers, Ga.) were each chosen to the SAC All-Freshman Team. Clear is averaging 8.7 points per game and has connected on 28 treys this season while Elkins is putting up 5.6 points and 2.9 rebounds per outing.