Carson-Newman rally comes up short against second-ranked Lander, 75-73
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — A furious second half rally by the Carson-Newman women's basketball team came up short against No. 2 Lander on Wednesday night, as the Bearcats escaped with a 75-73 victory at Holt Fieldhouse.
The Lady Eagles used a 33-7 second half run to erase a 24-point deficit and take their first lead of the night on a 3-pointer by Mandy Mendenhall (Kingston Springs, Tenn.) with 6:38 remaining. However, Lander bounced back to regain the lead for good on a deep 3-pointer by Jasmine Judge with 2:21 left.
With the loss, C-N falls to 3-5 on the season. Lander remains unbeaten at 9-0.
"I can't explain it. I don't know what happened to us. I don't know what the deal was to start the game, why we were so nervous and scared and didn't adhere to the game plan," C-N head coach Dean Walsh said. "To be down by 24 and fight back to take a lead just showed the heart and character of a champion. I'm a firm believer that if we play like that the rest of the year, I don't know how many times we are going to get beat."
The Lady Eagles shot 63 percent from the floor during their second half comeback and connected on 48 percent (24-of-50) of their shots for the game, while Lander scored at a 42.4 percent clip (28-of-66). C-N held a decisive edge on the boards, outrebounding Lander 48-28.
Turnovers proved to be key for the Bearcats, as they scored 39 points off of 32 C-N turnovers. The Lady Eagles had 21 turnovers in the first half alone, which led to 26 points.
Mendenhall fired in a game-high 24 points, including four 3-pointers, to pace four Lady Eagles in double figures. Senior guard Katlin Moore (Fort Mill, S.C.) tossed in 12 points. Junior forward Zoriah Williams (Calera, Ala.) tallied a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds, while Candis Clear (Memphis, Tenn.) finished with 10 points.
Judge led five Bearcats in double figures with 17 points, including five 3-pointers, while Tasheba Butler netted 15 points. Shannon McKever added 14 points and eight rebounds, while Brittni Johnson tallied 11 points in the win.
The Lady Eagles struggled to take care of the ball early on as they committed six turnovers in the first four minutes of the contest. The Bearcats took advantage of the miscues and built a 15-4 lead.
Lander led by as many as 19 points in the first half and took a 40-22 lead into the locker room after Johnson drilled a 3-pointer with two seconds left.
After falling behind by 24 points two minutes into the second half, the Lady Eagles began their comeback, as Moore drained a 3-pointer to spark the 33-7 run at the 17:33 mark.
Mendenhall capped off the run with a 3-pointer from the corner to give C-N its first lead of the night, and the Lady Eagles held a 62-60 lead after Mendenhall sank a pair of free throws with 4:32 remaining.
But Lander's Nardia Robbins made a layup to tie the game at 62-62, and Judge then made her fourth 3-pointer of the night to give the Bearcats the lead for good.
The Lady Eagles return to action on Saturday at King College. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. in Bristol, Tenn.