JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – With four games remaining in the 2016-17 season, Carson-Newman visits Tusculum for its penultimate road game scheduled for Wednesday night at 6 p.m. from Pioneer Arena.
"I think it's important trying to keep the kids fresh and healthy," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said of the final four games of the year. "For all of us it's been a long year. A lot of times the teams that are still wanting to compete and play this time of year are having more success than others. I think it's about staying true to where are and what we have accomplished. Everyone staying together and being on the same page, if we do that we will have a nice little stretch run."
Wednesday is the 71st all-time meeting between Carson-Newman and Tusculum as C-N has controlled the series ahead 53-17.
The Lady Eagles have picked up a victory in each of the last three trips to Pioneer Arena with their last setback coming on Jan. 9, 2013 when the Pioneers held on for a 55-51 win.
The first outing this season saw C-N hold on for a 76-66 win at Holt Fieldhouse winning on its home floor for the 17th time in the last 21 at Mossy Creek versus TC.
Mika Wester (Newport, Tenn.) led all scorers with 21 points on the night collecting a game-high eight rebounds to go along with three assists, two steals and a block. Kailyn Brooks (Lafayette, Tenn.) stuffed the stat sheet with 11 points, seven assists, a career-high five steals and four rebounds. Briana Smith (Nashville, Tenn.) concluded the night with 15 points, four rebounds and a pair of pilfers.
Four Pioneers finished in double figures led by 14 points from Maelyn Head as Callie Patterson added 13 and the combo of Morgan Depew and Kasey Johnson each posted 11.
Tusculum has played 12 road games this season going 2-10 while posting a 3-6 record inside its home facility. Since beginning the year 2-10, the Pioneers are 4-6 and are 2-2 to start the month of February.
Forcing turnovers is Tusculum's biggest strength leading the league with 9.5 steals per game to get 19 giveaways per night. Benedicta Makakala leads the charge ranking 10th in the country with 73 pilfers on the year. The group is third in the league in turnover margin at just shy of plus-three on the year.
"They do some different things," Mincey said. "It's just about playing with poise especially when you go on the road. I think they are expecting a decent crowd and a nice environment. They don't try to speed you up. They are pretty long and athletic and sometimes you can't see people coming behind you and they get hands on it. We want shot attempts and not turnovers."
Rebounding is a point of concern as the Pioneers compile 31 rebounds per night and are being outrebounded on average by 10.5 boards per evening as both numbers are the 10th-fewest in the nation.
Opponents are shooting 41 percent against TC's defense while giving up the sixth-highest three-point percentage in Division II at 37 percent.
Tusculum is eighth in the conference in scoring posting 58 points per game making just 37 percent of its field-goal attempts, 11th in the league. With a scoring margin of negative-8, the Pioneers are eighth but the two defeats this month have come by a combined three points.
The game will be broadcast on cneagles.com/live and Mountain Country 106.3 WPFT-FM through the radio channels starting at 5:45 p.m. with "The Appalachian Electric Cooperative Countdown to Tip-Off" on the Eagle Sports Network.
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