VIDEO: Mike Mincey Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – For a second straight game, six players reeled in double-digit point totals for No. 15 Carson-Newman in a 118-55 conference opening victory over Mars Hill on Wednesday night at Holt Fieldhouse.
The win marked the fourth consecutive game in which the Lady Eagles (8-0, 1-0) scored at least 109 points. It was also the largest margin of victory in series history against the Lions.
"We sputtered coming out of the gates, for sure," head coach Mike Mincey said of his team. "Once we finally got that first basket, could get up in the press, I thought the track race had started and once we got going that way, the game got tilted in our favor."
The Lions (1-6, 0-1) jumped out to an early 4-0 lead off back-to-back jumpers from Baylea Loven a minute into the first quarter, the largest lead Mars Hill held in the contest, before C-N took control of the opening period.
Carson-Newman's opening onslaught featured a 23-5 scoring run to close out the first quarter, leading 31-11. That run was highlighted by a Lions' 13-point scoreless skid that lasted nearly three minutes after Haris Price drained a three-pointer and Jecca Simerly scored on consecutive jumpers.
Mars Hill struggled to keep control of the ball, amassing eight of its 22 turnovers in the first 10 minutes of play.
Into the second quarter, the Lady Eagles continued to expand open their commanding lead. Mincey's crew scored 38 points in the frame, notching the most points scored for C-N in a period. C-N was perfect from the free throw stripe in its eight trips while shooting 52-percent on field goals and 44-percent from the arc. The Lions' shooting struggled left them at 41-percent on field goals, going 1-for-4 from three-point range. The 69-27 halftime lead also marked the most points scored for the team in a half.
Addison Byrd came off the bench to lead the C-N 31-point scoring rush in the third period with eight points, nailing two of her three shots from long distance to help her team cross the century mark. She finished the evening with 13 of C-N's 55 points off the bench. Mars Hill was held to just 11 points in the frame as the Lady eagles jumped out to a 100-38 advantage.
Carson-Newman kept its foot on the pedal moving into the final quarter, attaining its largest lead of the night at the 7:17 mark on a layup from Addison Byrd, putting the Lady Eagles up by 63. Valeriya Pokrovskaya led the charge for Mars Hill in the closing period with six points, going perfect from beyond the arc. The Lions contained C-N just 18 points, but it was too little, too late.
Another dominating game for @CNwbasketball as six players score in double figures for a second straight night. @littleTorgriff grabs a career-high eight boards and scores 11 points. pic.twitter.com/j4XKoss0Zp— C-N Athletics (@CNathletics) November 30, 2017
Price led the Lady Eagles with 20 points on the night, shooting 8-for-11 from the field and missing just one of her five launches from deep. She had one rebound with nine assists and three steals.
"(Price) is just so fast, she's so athletic," Mincey said of the junior guard. "Her three ball, she's now shooting the three ball, which I like.
"She's got an uncanny ability to find the open man with both right and left hand. She's just a complete basketball player."
Mika Wester had another strong outing for the Orange and Blue, standing perfect on both of her attempted three-pointers with just one missed field goal. She worked the boards five times with three assists and a pair of steals and blocks.
Sheena Johnson, Mars Hill's leading scorer heading into this game, was held to just eight points in the contest. Baylea Loven led the Lions with nine points and five rebounds.
Carson-Newman shot 51-percent from the field compared to just 31-percent from Mars Hill. Mincey's Club made the most of the Lions' possession struggles, scoring 35 points off turnovers.
The Lady Eagles doubled the work the Lions did inside and then some, scoring 50 points in the paint to 20 from Mars Hill. They also outrebounded the Lions 63-28.
The Lady Eagles now look ahead to a road match against the Wolves of Newberry with a 2 p.m. tipoff. Radio coverage from Eleazer Arena will begin at 1:45 with "The Appalachian Electric Cooperative Countdown to Tip-Off" on Mountain Country 106.3 WPFT-FM and cneagles.com.