JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – To open up the South Atlantic Conference slate, 19th-ranked Carson-Newman welcomes Mars Hill to Holt Fieldhouse Wednesday evening for a 6 p.m. contest.
"We have reminded them that since I have been here we have done pretty well out of conference," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "This is three out of the last four years that we haven't lost a game out of conference. That's all great. It does help your resume if you're a team looking to make the NCAA Tournament. I keep telling them that I'm more concerned with our conference. Our toughest games are ahead of us. We know that when you get to conference it ratchets up a little bit."
Carson-Newman (7-0) has scored at least 90 points in a four straight games to match a program record from Jan. 10-21, 2009. The Lady Eagles have scored at least 115 points in two of the last three games. The rest of the conference has not accomplished one such game since Dec. 30, 2009 when Tusculum beat Virginia Intermont 117-38.
Offensively, the unit is the highest scoring offense in the country as C-N is averaging 100 points per night, 7.5 more than reigning National Champion Ashland. The Lady Eagles second in the nation in triples per game at 10.7, seventh in field-goal percentage at 48.9, seventh in scoring margin at 28.1 and eighth in assists per game at 20.6.
Wednesday night is the 66th all-time meeting between Carson-Newman and Mars Hill (1-5) as the Lady Eagles lead the series 47-18 and have won nine of the last 10. The program is 27-6 in contests at Mossy Creek.
The Lions have lost five straight games at Holt Fieldhouse since last leaving with a victory on Jan. 18, 2012, an 87-78 decision. Tyler Carlson made 10 foul shots and led all scorers with 23 points as one of three players with at least 18 points in the game. Zoriah Williams led C-N with 16 points and 10 rebounds while Shannon Depew had 14 points and Megan Hunter finished with 12.
The most recent meeting saw Haris Price scored all 14 of her points and made four three-pointers in the fourth quarter as Carson-Newman missed just four of its 16 shot attempts in the final 10 minutes to defeat Mars Hill 88-61. The Lions committed 24 turnovers leading to 36 points for C-N.
Mars Hill saw three players score in double-digits led by 15 points from its leading scorer Paige Chavis who chipped in four rebounds and four assists. Aliyah Farmer had 14 points and five boards while Madison Ervin added 10 points and four caroms.
The final spot in the SAC preseason coaches' poll was given to Mars Hill as the Lions saw their defense yield a 45 percent field-goal percentage from foes to rank 300th in the country in 2016-17.
This season has been a sluggish start for coach Jenny Finora's group as the unit has won one of its first six games with losses in four straight contests. The Lions are scoring 61 points per game on the season having shot under 40 percent in all but one affair on the season. With a 33.8 percent shooting clip, the unit is 272nd in the country.
Only 14 teams have turned the ball over less frequently than Mars Hill this season with an average of 22.7. Finora's team has given the ball away at least 20 times on four occasions with a season-high 32 recorded against Chowan on Nov. 17.
The defense has improved this season as opponents are shooting 36 percent against them, the fourth-best margin in the league on the year. However, the Lions are yielding 73.2 points per game on the season, the worst number in the league that matches a minus-8.5 rebounding clip.
Only one regular is averaging double figures in scoring led by junior Sheena Johnson's 14.2. The guard has scored at least 10 points in each contest but one recording a season-high 24 points at Converse on Nov. 18.
Fans can enjoy a night of basketball for free on the Eagle Sports Network. If residents of the Lakeway region want to kick back to listen to the radio they can flip on Mountain Country 106.3 WPFT-FM. For those outside of the area, a high definition video stream and an audio option is available on cneagles.com/live beginning at 5:45 p.m. with "The Appalachian Electric Cooperative Countdown to Tip-Off".
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