JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – The Carson-Newman Lady Eagles (18-9, 12-9 South Atlantic Conference) defeated the Lincoln Memorial Railsplitters (14-13, 11-10 SAC) 79-57 Wednesday evening at Holt Fieldhouse. Carson-Newman has won back-to-back games for the first time in a month while setting a new high for wins in the Mike Mincey era best the 17 won by the 2011-12 team.
"For one, our defense was leading to our offense," head coach Mike Mincey said. "You create that energy by getting defensive stops. We got into a little bit of a flow making shots. We weren't make threes, but we were making nice passes and little 15-footers and when that starts happening you get confidence in each other."
Lincoln Memorial scored the first seven points of the basketball game, but made just 4 of its final 20 field goal attempts as Carson-Newman held a 33-22 lead at halftime.
After the Lady Eagles fell behind 7-0, they immediately answered with a 14-2 run to take a 16-9 lead with 11:35 to play in the opening half. Mincey's group took its largest lead of the game 28-13 with 2:52 to play in the half.
Lincoln Memorial shot 31 percent in the first half while Carson-Newman shot 48 percent and assisted on 11 of its 13 made field goals. Junior forward Taylor Peterson (Mount Juliet, Tenn.) led all scorers in the opening 20 minutes with nine points as seven different players found the bottom of the bucket for the Lady Eagles.
The Railsplitters cut the deficit to single digits at 38-29 with 17:31 to play before the Lady Eagles responded with a 14-0 run over the next 3:50 to take a 52-39. The run was capped by a three-pointer by junior guard Tatum Burstrom (Maryville, Tenn.). Lincoln Memorial made just 3 of its first 10 shots out of the locker room while the Lady Eagles converted on 8 of their first 12 attempts.
Four Carson-Newman players scored in double figures led by 16 points from Peterson. Sophomore guard Kailyn Brooks (Lafayette, Tenn.) notched her first career double-double with 14 points and a career-high 10 assists. Freshman forward Allison Hodge (Blaine, Tenn.) and Burstrom each chipped in 12 points in the victory.
"I think I'm really just letting the game come to me," Peterson said. "Coach has put some faith in me and I'm having to step up. My teammates are just giving me the ball and I'm just fortunate enough to put the ball in the basket."
The Lady Eagles shot 60 percent in the second half of basketball while shooting 54 percent from the floor in the contest and converting 20 of 23 free throw attempts, 87 percent.
The Railsplitters were led by 13 points from Lakeisha Beasley and 10 points from Megan Pittman.
Carson-Newman won the points off turnovers battle 27-12 by forcing 21 miscues from Lincoln Memorial while Mincey's group also won the points in the paint statistic 38-28.
"We had a game plan there defensively," Mincey said. "We stuck to it on how we were guarding ball screens and how we were going to chase their shooters and how we were going to guard the bigs underneath because they do have a nice power game."
The Lady Eagles close out the 2014-15 regular season with their senior day Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. when the Newberry Wolves come to Holt Fieldhouse. Pregame coverage begins at 1:45 p.m. with "The Appalachian Cooperative Countdown to Tip-Off" on 106.3 WPFT-FM or in high definition by visiting cneagles.com/live.
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