JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — The Carson-Newman women's basketball team officially started preparations for the 2010-11 season on Friday afternoon with a two-hour practice in Holt Fieldhouse.
Lady Eagle head coach Dean Walsh, who enters his 10th season at the helm of the program, was pleased his squad's effort to open camp.
"I liked our speed and effort that we gave," said Walsh, whose team was picked to finish second in the South Atlantic Conference this season. "But it's a long process, and we've got to get everybody healthy. It's hard to get continuity right off the back, but it's early and we will just try to take it one step at a time. Hopefully we will get there."
The Lady Eagles are coming off a successful run last season as they went 24-7, including a school-record 16-0 start, and made their fourth trip to the NCAA Division II Tournament in six years.
C-N returns three starters from a year ago, including senior guard Mandy Mendenhall (Kingston Springs, Tenn.), a preseason first team All-SAC selection. In all, the Lady Eagles return eight players who averaged double digits in minutes per game in 2009-10.
The Lady Eagles will face a brutal exhibition slate against three perennial Division I powers. C-N will play eight-time national champion Tennessee on Nov. 2, marking the seventh straight year the teams have met in the preseason. The Lady Eagles will also face Duke, a No. 2 seed in last season's NCAA Tournament, on Nov. 7 in Durham, N.C. and North Carolina, which is coached by C-N alum Sylvia Hatchell, on Nov. 8 in Chapel Hill, N.C.
C-N will begin regular season play on Nov. 13 against USC-Aiken in the Southeast Regional Challenge in Greenwood, S.C. The Lady Eagles' home opener will be against King College on Nov. 16 at Holt Fieldhouse.