JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – The South Atlantic Conference Women's Basketball Championships begin Wednesday evening as seventh-seeded Carson-Newman travels to face second-seeded Newberry for a 7 p.m. tip-off at Eleazer Arena.
Newberry (16-12, 15-7) swept the regular season slate for the first time since the 2010-11 season but trails in the all-time series 28-20. The last time the two teams met was on Jan. 24 as the Wolves won 77-69 shooting 60 percent in the first half.
"With both games with Newberry this year, certainly with the game at our place we had a nice comfortable margin in the third quarter and Newberry did what Newberry does and made huge three's down the stretch," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "I think we are kind of even to be honest with you. It should be a tightly played game. Hopefully we can put the ball in the basket over there better than we did the first time."
Carson-Newman (18-10, 12-10) and Newberry have met three times in the SAC Women's Basketball Championship with Newberry being the higher seed in each contest and winning all three meetings. The two programs have met in each round. In 2007 the two sides met for the title with Newberry winning a 3/4 match-up. The 2010 semifinal saw second-seeded Newberry defeat third-seeded C-N. The most recent meeting in postseason play came on March 6, 2013 when the Wolves won 69-58 in the quarterfinals.
Newberry is looking to be the first team to beat Carson-Newman three times in one season since the Wolves swept three meetings during the 2006-07 campaign.
"The seniors in particular know that going to Newberry if we lose our season will be over," Mincey said. "There's no way we can make the NCAA Tournament without another W. With a win we think there might be have a chance at the eight spot depending on how the other tournaments play out."
Carson-Newman is 22-24 all-time in the SAC Women's Basketball Championships with one title in 2005 and five championship game appearances in 1995, 1998, 1999, 2005 and 2007. The Lady Eagles are one of four teams along with Lenoir-Rhyne, Catawba and Wingate to participate in each SAC Tournament since the first season in 1992.
In the 24 seasons of the SAC Women's Basketball Championship, seven seeds are 3-21 in the quarterfinals and no seven seed has won a game in a semifinal contest. C-N became the first No. 7 seed to win a quarterfinal in 2000 as Tusculum in 2007 and Lenoir-Rhyne in 2015 are the teams with wins as a seven seed. The only other time that C-N was the seventh seed came in 1996 when Gardner-Webb bounced the Lady Eagles 63-55.
This season is the 10th time that Carson-Newman has been the lower-seeded team in a quarterfinal contest holding a 3-6 record in those meetings. The last win for the Lady Eagles as a lower seed came on Feb. 29, 2012, an 82-75 overtime win at Lenoir-Rhyne.
Newberry is the reigning SAC Tournament champion with the reigning champion holding a 16-6 record in the following season's quarterfinal games. Tusculum in 2010-11, Presbyterian from 1998-00 and Wingate in 1996-97 are the only teams to repeat as tourney champs.
The Wolves have scored over 70 points 10 times this year including in both meetings with C-N while ranking seventh in the league with 65.3 points per game. Defensively, Newberry is the best team in the SAC in terms of points per game yielding 61.3 points per night while the Lady Eagles are the top scoring offense in the conference averaging 71.5 points per game.
The Eagle Sports Network will provide broadcast coverage beginning at 6:45 p.m. with The Appalachian Electric Cooperative Countdown to Tip-Off on cneagles.com/live and 106.3 WPFT-FM.
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