HICKORY, N.C. – Sixth-seeded Carson-Newman saw its season ended at the hands of second-seeded Wingate by a 69-57 score Saturday afternoon in the semifinals of the 2011 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament. The contest was played at Catawba Valley Community College's Multipurpose Center.
The Lady Eagles conclude the season with a 14-16 mark, while Wingate (19-9) will contend for its first SAC Tournament title in four years Sunday when it faces league regular-season champion Tusculum (20-8) beginning at 2 p.m.
Carson-Newman jumped out to a 12-5 lead 6:13 into the game on a jumper by sophomore guard Candis Clear (Memphis, Tenn.). After trading baskets with the Bulldogs, the Lady Eagles pushed their lead to 12 (26-14) with 5:17 to go on back-to-back three pointers by Clear. Four straight points by Wingate would give C-N a 33-26 lead going into the intermission.
After the break, the Lady Eagles attained their second 12-point lead of the contest (40-28) with 17:51 remaining. The Bulldogs then took control of the contest, reeling off a 24-4 run that covered nearly 10 minutes, taking a 52-44 lead they would never relinquish.
C-N cut the deficit to five points three times within the final eight minutes of play, but couldn't close the deficit any further as Wingate cruised to the 69-57 win.
Senior guard Mandy Mendenhall (Kingston Springs, Tenn.) scored a team-high 11 points off of three treys for the Lady Eagles while Clear and freshman forward Shannon Depew (Newport, Tenn.) pitched in 10 points apiece. Depew completed the double-double with 10 boards.
Mendenhall completes her career at Carson-Newman with 1,217 points, which is good for ninth-best in school history.
CC Brooks (Mount Holly, N.C.) posted a game-high 16 points and four assists to lead Wingate while Sarah Wollett (Raleigh, N.C.) added 11 points of her own.
Although, Wingate struggled from the field early, hitting only one of its first 16 attempts from the floor, the Bulldogs were able to bounce back shooting 37 percent for the rest of the contest and 82 percent (18-for-22) from the charity stripe.