Wolves lead wire-to-wire to knock out Lady Eagles in quarterfinals

VIDEO: Mike Mincey Interview

NEWBERRY, S.C. – No. 2 seed Newberry eliminated No. 7 seed Carson-Newman 85-74 Wednesday at Eleazer Arena in the quarterfinals of the South Atlantic Conference Women's Basketball Championships.

Newberry (17-12) defeated Carson-Newman (18-11) for the third time this season becoming the first team since the 2006-07 season to top a C-N three times in one season when the Wolves accomplished that feat.

The Lady Eagles have lost all four meetings against the Wolves in postseason play while Newberry is now 8-0 when playing on its home floor in the SAC Women's Basketball Championships.

"It was a high-scoring game," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "Probably one of the higher scoring games at Newberry. Newberry is the best scoring defense in the conference and we scored 74 points here. We always allow bench players to come off the bench and go for double figures. Our kids played hard. We have three kids sitting over there in street clothes that are projected starters this year. For whatever reason, Carson-Newman is limping into the postseason so you have to give our kids some credit that they came on the road and fought and battled."

Carson-Newman failed to make a shot from the floor for the first 5:50 of the contest starting 0-for-11 from the field. Senior forward Taylor Peterson (Mount Juliet, Tenn.) cashed in the first field goal of the game for C-N with 4:10 to play in the opening quarter to pull the Lady Eagles within a point at 5-4. An 8-2 sequence for Newberry pushed the lead to seven before taking a 19-13 advantage into the second quarter.

Newberry saw its lead extend to as many as nine points in the opening 20 minutes coming a 37-28 with three minutes to play in the first half. Carson-Newman pulled within three points before Nicola Handreck hit a 25-foot three-pointer in the waning seconds of the opening half to make it a 41-35 score at halftime.

The Wolves went 6-for-11 from long range in the first half as Handreck led the way with 12 points, four rebounds and four assists. Junior guard Kailyn Brooks (Lafayete, Tenn.) led C-N with 10 points in 16 minutes.

Newberry went 9-for-13 from the field in the third quarter. When C-N cut the deficit to three points at 43-40 with 9:18 to play in the quarter, Newberry went on a 14-3 run capped by a three-pointer from Samantha Creed with at the 4:09 mark pushing the advantage to 57-43.

The fourth quarter saw a combined 42 free-throw attempts as Newberry went just 1-for-8 from the floor but went 21-for-26 at the stripe to outscore Carson-Newman by a pair in the final 10 minutes. The lead ballooned to 16 points with 6:11 remaining. The Lady Eagles had the ball with 1:16 to play in the game down eight but turned the ball and saw the Wolves make six foul shots down the stretch to close out the game.

Brooks scored a career-high 25 points for the third time this season and second time inside of Eleazer Arena going 6-for-13 from the floor. The junior finishes the season with 71 converted three-pointers, on behind Ashley Tipton's single-season mark of 72 set during the 2008-09 campaign.

Senior guard Tatum Burstrom (Maryville, Tenn.) tallied 15 points on the night. She completes her career fourth in SAC history with 254 made three-points. The program's leader in made triples concludes her four years with 1,234 points, good for ninth in C-N history.

Peterson went 4-for-5 from the field while scoring 11 points in her final game.

Senior guard Jai Jai McLaughlin closes her career with 357 assists to rank seventh on the school's all-time assist-list.

The Lady Eagles had one of the most successful campaigns in program history defeating three ranked teams during the season, the most since at least 2000 by a C-N group.

As a team, Carson-Newman set a single-season program record for made three-pointers finishing the season with 216 on the season

Four Wolves scored in double figures led by 23 points from Handreck in addition to six assists and five rebounds. Samara Hill had 14 points and Shelby Britten and Jaya Schultz each had 12 points on the night.

To follow the Lady Eagles in the offseason stay tuned to cneagles.com and follow @CNathletics and @CNwbasketball on Twitter for updates.

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