Lady Eagles start SAC play fast; Hold off visiting Catawba, 79-71

Lady Eagles start SAC play fast; Hold off visiting Catawba, 79-71

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – The Carson-Newman Lady Eagles started and finished the first half on a big runs to build a 19-point halftime en route to beating visiting Catawba College, 79-71, in their South Atlantic Conference opener on Wednesday evening in Holt Fieldhouse.

C-N started the game on a 10-0 run and finished the first half with a 13-0 spurt to win its fifth consecutive game. The Lady Eagles are now 5-1 overall and 1-0 in SAC play, while Catawba falls to 2-4 and 0-1 in league play.

Carson-Newman raced to an early 10-0 lead in the opening minutes behind its full court pressure. The Lady Eagles forced seven turnovers in Catawba's first eight possessions to build the early double-digit lead. Juniors Whitney Moody (Blountville, Tenn.) and Courdne Miles (Burlington, N.C.) each had two buckets during the run.

"We wanted to hit them early, and I wanted to see if our kids still had a little bit of the big head after the two wins over the weekend," Mincey said.

"We hit them early, but then kind of let off the gas a little, but we responded and got the big lead at the end of the first half.

Catawba would cut the lead to six at 26-20 with 5:04 to play in the half on a bucket by Chloe Bully (Hannut, Belgium), but the rest of the half was all C-N.

The Lady Eagles finished the first half on a 13-0 run, led by Zoriah Williams (Calera, Ala.). She had six of her game-high 18 points during the run.

A Rechelle Dye (Greeneville, Tenn.) three pointer and baskets by Nikki James and Megan Hunter gave C-Na 39-20 edge at the half.

The Indians made just 7-of-29 field goals in the first half.

Catawba would cut into the 19-point Lady Eagle halftime lead early in the second half.

The Lady Indians shaved the C-N lead all the way down to seven at 48-41 behind a 21-9 run to start the half. Mallary Clay (Lansing, N.C.) led the charge with seven points during the run as Catawba cut the C-N lead to single digits with just over 12 minutes to play, but again, C-N answered.

A pair of layups from Nikki James and a steal and score by Dye helped C-N build the lead back out to 12. It would turn into a 13-2 C-N run after a pair of free throws by Miles at the 8:03 mark gave Carson-Newman a 17-point lead at 61-44.

Back-to-back threes by Nisha Long (Dallas, N.C.) in the final two minutes helped Catawba make it a six point game with 1:33 left to play, but C-N would put the game away at the free throw line in the final minute.

C-N held Catawba to 38 percent (24-of-63)from the floor, while shooting 54 percent (28-of-54) itself. The Lady Eagles were 26-of-42 from inside three-point range and had 48 points in the paint.

Williams led all scorers with 18 points, while Dye added 13 and James 12 off the bench. Miles added 11. Sophomore Shannon Depew had eight points and 10 rebounds in 21 minutes.

Guard Joylsa Connor (Charlotte, N.C.) led Catawba with 17 points, while Long had 14 and Clay 13. All-SAC selection Dana Hicks (York, S.C.) had eight points and 10 rebounds.

Carson-Newman makes its first road trip of conference play to Wingate University on Saturday. The 5-1 Lady Eagles face the SAC preseason favorite in Wingate, N.C. at 2 p.m. at Cuddy Arena.