JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Mike Mincey, Carson-Newman's women's basketball coach, released the Lady Eagles 2016-17 schedule Wednesday morning that features six games against 2016 NCAA Tournament Participants.
The agenda has 28 games on the schedule including two exhibitions against Division I foes, North Carolina and the University of Tennessee, on the road. During the season, the Lady Eagles will not be on the road or at home for more than two straight contests.
Mincey's group will get challenged right out of the gates with a journey to Chapel Hill, N.C. to face Carson-Newman Hall of Famer and 2013 Basketball Hall Fame inductee Sylvia Hatchell and her Tar Heels.
Five days later the Lady Eagles take the short trek to Knoxville, Tenn. to take on the Lady Volunteers of Tennessee. In 2015, UT won 101-59 but lead 45-30 after a 9-0 run to close out the first half.
For the third consecutive year, Carson-Newman will begin the season with the South Atlantic Conference versus the Peach Belt Conference Challenge. Lincoln Memorial is the host school for this season's action.
C-N plays at 6 p.m. on Nov. 11 against USC Aiken and at 2 p.m. on Nov. 12 versus Lander. The Lady Eagles are 4-0 in the first two years of the competition as the Pacers are the first foe for Mincey's team for the third straight year. The first two games were separated by a total of five points.
Lander earned the No. 2 seed in the Southeast Region in 2016 but bowed out to Francis Marion 62-61 in the opening round. The Bearcats finished the season with a 25-7 overall record and a 16-3 conference mark.
"We want to try to move to 6-0 and win those games," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "Our kids have really played well in those games. Last year, the Aiken game was very physical and I wouldn't say we played particularly well. We just won the game. Against Lander, it was the best we shot all year. Honestly that was one of my top-five wins since I've been a head coach because Lander just doesn't lose at home."
The doors to Holt Fieldhouse open on Nov. 16 with King (Tenn.) coming to town for a 5:30 p.m. opening tip. The Lady Eagles are 18-0 against the Tornado all-time and picked up a 75-66 win in Bristol, Tenn. a season ago.
The league schedule begins six days later on a Tuesday as Lincoln Memorial comes to Mossy Creek for a 6 p.m. start time. Last year, C-N recorded a 7-4 record against conference opponents inside of the friendly confines.
The Sunday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 27, the Lady Eagles make the journey to Columbus State for 2 p.m. start. The Cougars were the No. 3 seed in the Southeast Region in 2016 defeating sixth-seeded Wingate 79-72 before Francis Marion bounced CSU 67-58 in the second round. Coach Jonathan Norton is looking to replace two-time All-American Michelle Mitchell at guard.
The 2015 meeting between the two programs was a classic at the Creek with C-N pulling out a 70-68 victory over the No. 6 team in the country as Katie Stubblefield (Alcoa, Tenn.) buried a pair of free throws with 3.4 seconds to play. It was the first win for Carson-Newman over a top-10 ranked team since Jan. 17, 2009 when the Lady Eagles defeated fifth-ranked Tusculum 90-87 at Holt Fieldhouse.
Following a home game against Johnson (Tenn.), the Lady Eagles journey to Newberry before concluding nonconference action on Dec. 7 against North Georgia. The last meeting between the two programs saw the Lady Eagles blow out the Nighthawks 85-65 at Holt Fieldhouse.
"Going on the road within our region and playing top competition, it can only help your team," Mincey said. "It's going to tell you a lot about your team especially leading into conference play. Those games help you regionally. If you win, it's a lot of points. If you lose, you still get points because you are playing a top-tier team on the road. We feel like we have always done a good job out of conference especially the last few years. Once we get into conference play, are we going to be able to carry that momentum in our out of conference play into our conference schedule?"
Prior to the start of Christmas break, C-N hosts Queens, 11th place finisher in the SAC, and Catawba, tied for seventh place before traveling to Lenoir-Rhyne on Dec. 17.
The final game of the 2016 calendar year comes on New Year's Eve with a trip to Mars Hill at 2 p.m. in Carson-Newman's first trip to Stanford Arena since "The Reprimand Game" of 2016 where the Lions picked up a controversial 83-82 victory in the waning seconds.
Carson-Newman plays Wingate, the No. 6 seed in the Southeast Region, on Jan. 11 at 2 p.m. at Holt Fieldhouse and returns the visit on Feb. 18 at 2 p.m.
The Lady Eagles host the two-time reigning regular season champion, Anderson (S.C.), on Jan. 18 and head to the Palmetto State to face the Trojans on Feb. 8. Carson-Newman toppled Anderson in both meetings last season leading to half of the team's conference losses.
A 54-51 win at No. 11 Anderson on Jan. 21 had won 26 straight SAC contests at home prior to the loss. It was C-N's first road win over a ranked team since Dec. 12, 2009 when it beat eighth-ranked Clayton State 65-62.
The Lady Eagles needed overtime on Feb. 10 at home to beat the Trojans 81-79 as Jai Jai McLaughlin hit a layup in the waning seconds to send the game to an extra session before C-N prevailed.
Carson-Newman plays six out of eight games on the road from Jan. 25 to Feb. 18 prior to closing out the season at home against Brevard on Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. and hosting senior day on Feb. 25 at 2 p.m.
"Once we get to that point, hopefully we have learned how to get things done on the road," Mincey said. "If you can't win games on the road, you can't finish in the top four and you certainly can't compete for a conference title. The SAC will be as strong as ever."
Each game during the 2016-17 campaign can be heard on the Eagle Sports Network's flagship station Mountain Country 106.3 WPFT-FM with home outings available with a high definition video feed cneagles.com/live. In the meantime be sure to follow @CNathletics and @CNwbasketball on Twitter for the most recent updates.
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