AIKEN, S.C. – Kayla Marosites posted a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds and Mika Wester added 28 points to propel Carson-Newman to a 2-0 start to the year in the South Atlantic Conference/Peach Belt Conference Challenge against No. 15 Lander 90-87 Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center.
"First let me say I am excited to get a win over a team like Lander," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "Kevin runs a first-class program and they are definitely worthy of their No. 15 ranking. We got big performances out of several players and I'm hoping this is a sign of big things to come.
"We have a lot of offensive weapons and our play on the glass is so much better this year than years past. On the flip side, I am not happy with how we ended the game and squandered a lead. There is still a lot to improve on."
Carson-Newman (2-0) has now won four of the last five meetings with Lander (1-1) as Mincey improves to 7-4 as a head coach against nationally-ranked opposition.
In the opening 10 minutes, the two programs were deadlocked at nine when C-N scored eight of the next 12 points to take a six-point lead at 19-13 with 3:23 to play in the quarter. Kelci Marosites (Elizbethton, Tenn.) buried a three-pointer with 41 seconds to play to stretch the lead to nine points at 24-15.
The Lady Eagles captured a trio of 11-point leads in the second stanza as a Haris Price (Gatlinburg, Tenn.) layup made it 40-29 with 3:42 to go before the break. Lander reeled off an 11-2 scoring run to cut the deficit to one as a Christal Williams triple with 1:16 remaining made it 42-41. C-N scored the final six points of the half to go into the locker room ahead 48-41.
C-N shot 58 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes of the game with Mika Wester (Newport, Tenn.) scoring 17 points and Kayla Marosites (Elizabethton, Tenn.) added 13 points on five-for-five shooting.
The offensive efficiency continued for Carson-Newman in the third quarter as the team missed five shots from the field. Mincey's team saw the advantage grow to 13 points on a trio of occasions but the Bearcats had cut the deficit to six at 66-60 with nine seconds to play. Briana Smith (Nashville, Tenn.) drove the lane and kicked to Kayla Marosites as the sophomore canned a three-pointer as time expired to make it a nine-point game entering the fourth.
With 4:50 to play in the contest, C-N led by 10 points at 81-71. Over the next 1:07, the Bearcats scored seven unanswered points to pull within three at 81-78 to force Mincey to use a timeout. Wester knocked down a jumper and hit a three-pointer on the next two possessions as C-N expanded the lead to six points scoring seven of the next 11.
Two foul shots by Mylea McKenith with 38 seconds to go made it a one-point game at 88-87. Wester converted a pair at the charity stripe to make it a three-point game at 90-87 with 17 seconds to go. Williams missed a three-pointer with four ticks to go. Katie Stubblefield (Alcoa, Tenn.) cleared the rebound to seal the victory.
Kayla Marosites made nine of her 11 shot attempts piling up her first collegiate double-double. Wester went 10-for-18 from field and had five assists and four rebounds.
Price stuffed the stat sheed with 12 points, five assists, four boards and three pilfers. Kelci Marosites added 13 points going three-for-four from long range.
The Lady Eagles shot 57 percent overall from the field while making 10 of 17 from the three-point line.
Breshay Johnson led the charge for the Bearcats with 22 points and seven caroms going eight-for-12 from the field as one of five players in double figures.
Chelsea Mitchell notched a double with 16 points and 15 rebounds while McKenith ended the day with 15 points, six rebounds, six assists, five steals and three blocks.
C-N plays three games next week starting with a 6 p.m. tip-off against King (Tenn.) in Bristol. Broadcast coverage starts on the Eagle Sports Network at 5:45 p.m. on cneagles.com/live and Mountain Country 106.3 WPFT-FM (Sevierville, Tenn.).
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