JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – For the first time in 2017-18, Carson-Newman plays a contest inside of the friendly confines of Holt Fieldhouse Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. against Shorter.
"Going on the road with two tournaments and three true road games, I'm very proud of how the team has prepared," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey discussed. "The wins they have gotten – they have deserved because of the work they put in over the summer. As any team we are excited to come back home. We are very fortunate to be sporting a 5-0 record. We have shot the ball really well on the road and we hope that we will continue to shoot well when we get on our home floor."
Carson-Newman (5-0) is 14-3 in home openers since 2000 and has won nine straight contests after a 107-71 walloping of King on Nov. 16, 2016. The Lady Eagles won their home opener in each of their first 13 years as a program from 1978-90 for the longest streak in school history.
The three losses came in 2000, 2001 and most recently an 81-79 setback against North Georgia on Nov. 16, 2007. Overall the program is 30-9 in home openers since it first began playing basketball on Nov. 20, 1978.
The two programs have played four times with each team picking up two wins. The first meeting came on Feb. 5, 1979 with Shorter (1-2) winning at home 80-78. It would be 21 years until the two schools squared off again on Jan. 15, 2000 as the Lady Eagles won in 2000 and 2001.
The last meeting came on Feb. 11, 2002 when Shorter won at Holt Fieldhouse 66-61 as the Hawks overcame a one-point deficit at halftime. With the score tied at 58 with 1:32 to go in the game, Shorter scored eight of the final 11 to earn the win. Three Lady Eagles finished in double figures as Michelle Sharpe led the way with 13 points and five rebounds. Shorter was led by 21 points and eight rebounds from Tramine Paul while Anna Brock had 12 points and 14 caroms.
First-year head coach Dawn Brown inherits a team that went 8-19 a season ago and was picked to finish 12th out of 14 teams in the Gulf South Conference's preseason coaches' poll. Brown previously spent time as an assistant and interim head coach with Prairie View A&M guiding the school to its fourth consecutive Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament championship and fourth consecutive NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament appearance in 2014.
Brown needs to replace the team's top scoring threat in Taylor Adams after the forward graduated. She was the only Hawk to average double figures in 2016-17 posting 17.3 per night scoring double digits 19 times including four outings with 30 points or more.
Junior Raven Fair was second on the team in points per game last year, averaging 9.1 points per outing and rebounding with a nickel per evening. Fair had 12 outings with at least 10 points as a sophomore. This season she is playing 20 minutes per night but has scored a total of seven points.
After losing two games against Sunshine State compeition to open the year, the Hawks returned home to beat Carver 80-56 five days ago. The last time Shorter played a team from the South Atlantic Conference was Dec. 30, 2006 when it visited Newberry for a 77-41 loss to the Wolves.
This season a trio of players are averaging double figures led by Furman transfer Tatum Ragsdale and her 12.7 points per evening. Bianca Thornton sits at 11.3 and Roni Richardson is at an even 10 points per game. Breanna Thompson is near a double-double with 9.7 points per game and 8.3 boards per night.
The three-point arc has been an issue on both ends of the floor as foes are hitting 37 percent of their shots from the field, 261st in the nation, while converting 20 of 81 on the offensive end to rank in the bottom 50 in Division II women's basketball.
The game will have three different broadcast options. Locally, fans can catch the game on Mountain Country 106.3 WPFT-FM. Internationally, there will be a high definition video stream and an audio link available on cneagles.com/live. Broadcast coverage begins at 5:45 p.m. with "The Appalachian Electric Cooperative Countdown to Tip-Off" on the Eagle Sports Network.
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