JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Freshman forward Jecca Simerly (Talbott, Tenn.) scored 20 points in the first half to lead the Carson-Newman Lady Eagles (4-0, 2-0 South Atlantic Conference) to a 78-58 victory over the Coker Cobras (0-4, 0-2 SAC) Saturday afternoon at Holt Fieldhouse.
"I haven't seen her get that kind of stuff done since the tournament in Greeneville in high school last year," head coach Mike Mincey said. "I saw her in AAU a lot playing that high-low game. Jecca just got in the zone. When she gets in the zone, she is tough to guard."
Carson-Newman jumped out to a 7-1 lead, but 4-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc allowed Coker to tie the score 15. The Lady Eagles promptly responded with an 8-0 run over the next 1:43 to regain control of the contest. Simerly scored six of the final nine points of the opening half including a layup as the clock expired to give the home group its largest lead of the game.
Simerly became the first player since junior guard Tatum Burstrom (Maryville, Tenn.) poured in 20 at Lenoir-Rhyne on December 14, 2013 to score 20 points in a half as Simerly went 10-for-12 from the floor in the opening half.
"They are a very guard-oriented team," Simerly said. "Our guards took advantage of that and just found our post players. We worked hard and got it done."
The Cobras scored the first six points of the second stanza as the Lady Eagles went scoreless in the first 5:50 of the second half missing the first eight shots of the half. Carson-Newman made 14 of its final 22 shots to end the contest.
"I thought the performance was good," Mincey said. "We had some turnovers that I thought we shouldn't have had. In the second half, they went zone and I thought we had some open looks from three. We are a very good three-point shooting team, but we couldn't get them to drop."
Simerly recorded the first double-double of the year by a Lady Eagle finishing with career-highs in points and rebounds with 27 and 10. The freshman went 13-for-16 from the floor and chipped in three assists.
Carson-Newman set new season-highs with 45 rebounds, 26 assists and 11 steals. The 26 assists were the most by a Carson-Newman team since January 20, 2010 when the Lady Eagles posted 27.
Three players scored in double-digits for Coker led by 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting by Kelly Godbout.
Carson-Newman is back in action Tuesday night at Holt Fieldhouse when the Mars Hill Lions come to town for a 6 p.m. tip. The radio broadcast is available at 5:45 p.m. on 106.3 WPFT-FM with a free high definition video stream available on cneagles.com/live.
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