HARTSVILLE, S.C. – A 10-2 run late in the fourth quarter helped Carson-Newman overcome a second-half deficit and pull out a 76-69 victory against Coker at the DeLoach Center Saturday afternoon.
"I think we just made some big plays," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "[Kailyn] Brooks made a big three. [Katie Stubblefield] made some big shots down the stretch. We got some steals out of the press. They missed some shots. Once again it was another close ball game on the road in a good environment. That's two in-a-row that we've been on the road with a one possession game late and we are able to make enough plays."
Carson-Newman (18-10, 12-10 South Atlantic Conference) will be the No. 7 seed in the upcoming SAC Championships and secures its sixth season with a record better than .500 over the last eight years.
Coker (9-19, 8-14 SAC) loses its fifth-straight game and fails to qualify for the SAC Championships.
Carson-Newman started the game by scoring eight of the first 10 points of the game but saw Coker respond with a 17-3 run to take a 19-11 with 3:03 to play in the frame as Mincey burned a pair of timeouts in the sequence. The Cobras shot 56 percent in the opening stanza and led 23-20.
A 9-2 sequence for Coker saw the Cobras take their largest lead of the first half of nine points at 35-26 with on two foul shots by Danielle Luczak. In the final 2:25 of the opening 20 minutes, the Lady Eagles closed on a 10-2 run that was capped by a lay-up by junior forward Kaitlyn Cupples (Clinton, Tenn.) who alertly rebounded a half-court heave and put in the bucket as time expired to put her team ahead 36-35 at the break.
The Cobras went 2-for-14 from the floor in the second quarter and shot 37 percent in the first half while the Lady Eagles made 11 of 16 free-throw attempts. Senior forward Taylor Peterson (Mount Juliet, Tenn.) did not miss a shot from the floor going 5-for-5 with a game-high 14 points in the first 20 minutes of play.
Coker scored the first seven points of the third quarter and saw its lead extend to seven points on two occasions. The Cobras did not score in the final 2:25 of the frame but Carson-Newman scored just two points in that span and trailed 51-46 entering the final 10 minutes. The Lady Eagles went 2-for-8 at the free-throw line in the third.
The Lady Eagles scored eight of the first 10 points of the fourth quarter to take a 54-53 lead with 8:10 to play. It was one of seven instances where the lead changed hands in the final 10 minutes. The two sides were all square at 62 with 3:39 to play in the game when the Lady Eagles reeled off 10 of the next 12 points to take the lead for good and made foul shots to close out the day.
Only six players scored for Carson-Newman but five reached double figures, the first time since Jan. 13, 2016 against Brevard that that occurred. Peterson finished with 18 points while junior guard Kailyn Brooks (Lafayette, Tenn.) scored nine points in the fourth quarter to finish with 18 points and five assists.
Cupples ended the day with 13 points and six rebounds while redshirt-sophomore forward Katie Stubblefield added 12 points and three boards.
"We have good distribution," Stubblefield said. "Today we didn't have [Kayla] Newman. We don't have Jecca [Simerly] this year. It shows the depth of our bench. We have people able to step up and make big plays for us."
Senior guard Tatum Burstrom (Maryville, Tenn.) added 10 points, five assists and four steals. Burstrom moved past Mandy Mendenhall for ninth on the program's all-time scoring list bringing her total to 1,219.
Three players scored in double figures for Coker led by 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists from Jazz Green. Kiara Shoats and Kendra Lambert added 15 points and 13 points respectively.
Carson-Newman will begin its title quest in the SAC Championships Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. at Newberry. The Eagle Sports Network will provide audio coverage on cneagles.com/live beginning at 5:45 p.m. with The Appalachian Electric Cooperative Countdown to Tip-Off.
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