JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – The Carson-Newman Lady Eagles forced 34 turnovers and senior Zoriah Williams came up with big buckets down the stretch as C-N upset visiting No. 12 Delta State University, 54-48, on Saturday afternoon in Holt Fieldhouse.
Williams had 13 second half points and finished with 17 for the game to carry the Lady Eagles offensively. She had C-N's final three field goals as the Lady Eagles held off the Lady Statesmen, giving C-N head coach Mike Mincey picked up his first win against a ranked opponent.
"This is a big win for us," Mincey said. "Delta State is a quality team and a good program. To win one like this, against one of the best teams in the country, will hopefully give us some confidence and momentum heading into Sunday and into conference play."
C-N's relentless defense kept DSU at bay and out of any offensive rhythm. The Lady Eagles led by as many as 11 in the second half after a pair of free throws and a Williams layup made it 46-35 with just over four minutes to play.
DSU would cut the lead to four with 75 seconds left on a jumper by Brooke Rhodes, but the Lady Eagles connected on 5-of-6 for their final free throws to hang on.
Williams led C-N with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Megan Hunter added eight.
Forward Veronica Walker led DSU with 23 points and six boards. Rhodes added 10 for DSU shich shot 42 percent (20-of-48) from the floor.
With the win, C-N is now 3-1 on the year, DSU falls to 2-2.
Carson-Newman's press set the tone in the first half as the Lady Eagles forced 22 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes, but couldn't convert the Lady Statesmen miscues into points.
C-N shot just 29 percent (9-of-31) in the half, and was 0-of-6 six from three-point range.
C-N led by as many as eight in the half at 15-7 on a floater by Rechelle Dye with just under eight minutes in. DSU would rally with six straight to cut the lead to two at 15-13.
The Lady Eagles made 9-of-10 free throws in the opening half to take a four point lead at the break, 27-23.
C-N was just 15-of-52 from the floor, but hit 24-of-30 (80 percent) free throw attempts. Neither team made a three-point field goal.
Carson-Newman returns to action on Sunday against Lander University at 4 p.m. in the finale of the 2011 Lady Eagle Thanksgiving Classic.