KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Carson-Newman produced its best offensive showing in 30 meetings with Tennessee but a third-quarter surge pushed the 14th-ranked Lady Volunteers to a 121-76 exhibition victory Tuesday evening at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Prior to tonight's effort the most points scored by a Lady Eagle club came on Nov. 21, 2010 when the program scored 66 points in a 110-66 setback.
"We are an offensive-oriented team," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "We want to play fast. We want to put a lot of points on the board. People that haven't played in this environment have no idea. The lights are really bright and we are playing against a lot of size. To get 76 overall against a quality basketball team with a lot of size. I'm super proud of our kids."
Despite shooting 63 percent in the first 10 minutes Tennessee led by seven at 27-20. A driving layup from Mika Wester (Newport, Tenn.) gave the Lady Eagles their lone lead of the half at 3-2. The Lady Vols stretched the lead to 10 points at 21-11 before C-N responded with seven of the next nine. Mercedes Russell and Katie Stubblefield (Alcoa, Tenn.) traded buckets to end the first quarter.
After Tennessee scored the first six points of the second stanza, C-N rattled off nine straight points capped by a three-pointer from Addison Byrd (Nashville, Tenn.) to make it a 33-29 contest. The Lady Eagles failed to make a field goal over a 2:54 stretch as Tennessee pushed the lead to 45-30 with 3:20 to play in the half. Kelci Marosites (Elizabethton, Tenn.) rolled home a three-pointer as the first-half clock expired to make it a 52-42 game.
"In the first half obviously we were pleased," Mincey said. "You are never going to be pleased giving up 51 points but you have to take into consideration who you are playing. It's a really good basketball team – No. 1 recruiting class in the country. I thought they executed pretty well."
Tennessee came out of the locker room following halftime by making 64 percent of its shots while limiting Carson-Newamn to 22 percent shooting. The Lady Vols outscored the Lady Eagles 37-14 to take an 89-56 lead to the fourth.
Haris Price (Gatlinburg, Tenn.) led the Lady Eagles in scoring with 15 points going seven-for-14 from the floor.
"I think this whole preseason I have been working more on my game," Price said. "Last year I was struggling to get into the system and learn their roles. I've been focusing on my game and how I can contribute to the team more."
Briana Smith (Nasvhille, Tenn.) was the other C-N player in double digits with 13 making seven of eight from the free-throw line.
Jecca Simerly (Talbott, Tenn.) led the team on the glass with 10 rebounds on the night as C-N trailed but just one board, 37-36, after 30 minutes of play.
"I think it's a good start to our season," Simerly said. "After this we know that we aren't going to have to face anyone like that again. We can use this to come together as a team and get ready for our season."
The Lady Volunteers had failed to crest 100 points in two of the last three years and posted its best offensive effort since putting up 124 points on Nov. 5, 2009.
Rennia Davis made her Lady Vol one to remember with 27 points and 13 rebounds. Kasiyahna Kushkituah also had a double-double with 13 points and 10 boards.
Six Lady Vols finished in double figures as Jamie Nared had 22, Anatasia Hayes registered 19, Evina Westbrook notched 17 and Mercedes Russell compiled 14.
To open its Division II regular season, Carson-Newman makes a journey to Aiken, S.C. to face USC Aiken Friday night at 7:30 p.m. from the Convocation Center. Fans can listen to the game on cneagles.com/live beginning 15 minutes before tip-off.
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