JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – The 2016-17 season begins for Carson-Newman women's basketball with a trip to Chapel Hill, N.C. as the Lady Eagles visit with the University of North Carolina for a 7 p.m. tip-off at Carmichael Arena.
Carson-Newman returns 63 percent of its scoring and 74 percent of its rebounding to this year's squad as three seniors and three juniors lead the returning group.
One half of the scoring leaders returns as senior guard Kailyn Brooks (Lafayette, Tenn.) averaged 13.8 points per game last season tied with first-year assistant coach Tatum Burstrom for the team lead. Brooks is sixth on the school's all-time made three-pointers list with 123 in her career and was an honorable mention All-South Atlantic Conference pick from a season ago.
With an 18-11 overall record, the Lady Eagles went 12-11 in league play to finish seventh and fell at Newberry in the opening round of the SAC Championships.
Carson-Newman travels to Chapel, Hill, N.C. for the ninth time to face off against the University of North Carolina in an exhibition contest. The first time the two programs faced off was Nov. 5, 2006 with the two programs playing seven straight seasons from 2008-14.
The Tar Heels scored at least 100 points in each of the first seven meetings before failing to do so in the most recent outing winning 88-27. UNC shot 55 percent from the floor in the contest compared to 18 percent from C-N. The Eagles were led by Jasmine Poole's eight points and five rebounds. Jai Jai McLaughlin added three points and team-best seven rebounds. Preseason All-ACC selection Allisha Gray poured in 22 points with six rebounds, three assists and three steals for UNC.
Carolina is led by 1974 Carson-Newman graduate Sylvia Hatchell. The 1998 Carson-Newman Athletic Hall of Fame inductee enters her 31st season at the helm where she has a 703-278 record. Her career record of 975-358 is third in the history of women's basketball behind Pat Summitt and Stanford's Tara Vanderveer. She has won a national championship at the AIAW in 1982, the NAIA in 1986 and the NCAA in 1994.
The 2015-16 season saw the Heels post a 14-18 overall record and a 4-12 mark in conference action to finish 12th in the ACC. It was the first time since 1995-96 when it went 13-14 that UNC finished below .500 on the year.
A season ago, Hatchell's group was 289th out of 344 Division I schools in scoring defense yielding 70.3 points per game.
The Tar Heels turned the ball over 16.9 times per game, 231st in the nation, and tallied a 38.6 percent field-goal clip including 28.2 percent from long distance.
Hatchell has just three returning players from a season ago as forward Hillary Fuller returns from injury and Vanderbilt transfer Paris Kea enter the fray with eight true freshman.
Sophomore guard Stephanie Watts leads the charge after being named the ACC's Freshman of the Year in 2016 and a second-team All-ACC selection. She set a UNC freshman record with 76 made three-pointers scoring in double figures 25 times.
Junior guard Jamie Cherry made 161 free throws a season ago and enters this season second in program history by making 80.9 percent of her foul shots.
With the Lady Eagles traveling Tuesday with a shootaround on Wednesday, Brooks will be taking over the Carson-Newman Athletics Snapchat account. Fans are encouraged to add C-N athletics on Snapchat with the user name of cnathletics.
The game will be broadcast on Mountain Country 106.3 WPFT-FM and cneagles.com/live beginning at 6:45 p.m. with the Appalachian Electric Cooperative Countdown to Tip-Off on the Eagle Sports Network.
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