JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. - After the mandatory Division II one-week break, Carson-Newman welcomes Mars Hill to Holt Fieldhouse Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. for the first game of the 2016 calendar year in South Atlantic Conference action.
"Mars Hill is very talented," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "I'm glad we get to play them here instead of over there. As always this league has proven to be a lot of parity, a lot of tough games. It should be an exciting January and February for all teams in the league."
The Lady Eagles (8-3, 2-3 SAC) ended the first half of the season on a high note with a 68-48 victory over Lenoir-Rhyne. Carson-Newman has seen senior guard Jai Jai McLaughlin (Knoxville, Tenn.) return to form in the absence of fellow senior guard Tatum Burstrom.
With 17 games remaining in the season, Carson-Newman is looking to solidify its tournament resume and dig itself out of an early hole in the conference standings where six teams are currently on top of the Lady Eagles.
The quest for a strong start to the stretch run begins with a Mars Hill (3-7, 2-3 SAC) team that has lost five straight road contests dating back to a 66-58 win over Queens (N.C.) on Feb. 14, 2015.
Saturday will be the 66th all-time meeting between Carson-Newman and Mars Hill as the Lady Eagles hold a 48-17 lead in the series and have won six straight meetings.
Mars Hill's last win over Carson-Newman came on Feb. 15, 2012 in an 83-73 decision. The Lions won both games during the 2011-12 season as Mars Hill used a late 13-1 run after clinging to a one-point edge to close the game out.
The Lady Eagles trailed by 17 midway through the second half of the last meeting, Jan. 7, 2015. The story of the game for Mars Hill was 35 turnovers, the most forced by a Lady Eagle squad since Bryan College turned it over 36 times on November 21, 2011. Carson-Newman turned those turnovers into 40 points.
Mars Hill has won two of its last three games after a five-game losing streak. The Lions are coming off of an 81-65 loss at South Carolina Upstate in an exhibition game on Wednesday.
First-team All-SAC selection Camille Glymph is going from the 2014-15 team. Glymph led the league in scoring and was second nationally with 23.8 points per game last season while matching the conference record for points in a single game with 45 against Brevard on Feb. 26.
This season's group has three players averaging in double figures led by Ansley Ricker's 13.9 points per game on the year.
While Ricker is scoring, Genice Lane has provided the full stat sheet ranking in the top 10 in the league in steals (2.0), rebounds (7.2) and blocked shots (2.1).
Turnovers are once again a prime problem for Mars Hill who enter Saturday's contest ranked 276th nationally with 20.7 giveaways per night having turned the ball over at least 20 times on five occasions this season.
Getting to the free throw is one of the strengths of the group ranking 46th in Division II with 235 attempts per game, first in the SAC.
Pregame coverage begins at 1:45 p.m. on 106.3 WPFT-FM and cneagles.com/live with the Appalachian Electric Cooperative Countdown to Tip-Off on the Eagle Sports Network.
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