JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – The first road trip of South Atlantic Conference play sends 15th-ranked Carson-Newman to Newberry Saturday afternoon for a 2 p.m. contest as the Lady Eagles bring an offense that scores nearly 10 points more per game than any other group in Division II.
Carson-Newman (8-0, 1-0) has scored 100 points in four straight games matching the program record for triple digit games in a season with the 1979-80 team that had a quartet for 100-point efforts on the season. Entering this season, the program has scored at least 110 points seven times. The 2017-18 group has done so in three of the last four games.
"There are some things that are happening right now that we will probably never do again," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "Maybe it will never be done again in this program's history or in the conference. I think when we look back on it years down the road we are going to think 'wow that was a great group of kids that could really score'. I feel very blessed and lucky with kids I get to coach every day."
Not to be outdone, Mincey's group collected 63 rebounds in a 63-point win over Mars Hill Wednesday night. It was the highest rebound total in 1,798 days or 147 games when the group piled up 62 against Brevard on Nov. 28, 2012.
C-N won all three meetings against Newberry (5-3, 1-1) a season ago including a quarterfinal win in the SAC Women's Basketball Championships. It clinched a 20-win season for the 18th time in program history and was the first time since beating Wingate thrice in 2009-10 that the Lady Eagles picked up three wins against the same school in the same year. It put the Orange and Blue back in the SAC semifinals for the first time since 2013-14.
While C-N dominates the series at home with a 16-4 record, the Lady Eagles are 10-11 all-time in Newberry but have won three of the last four contests played at Elezer Arena.
Mika Wester (Newport, Tenn.) was the most consistent Lady Eagle among the three meetings scoring no fewer than 17 points. The Newport, Tenn. native averaged 21 points, seven rebounds and three assists going 23-for-48 from the floor and 6-for-12 from three-point range.
After not scoring in the meeting on Jan. 21 in 14 minutes, Haris Price (Gatlinburg, Tenn.) scored a season-high 22 points in the SAC Quarterfinals going 7-for-11 from the field making all five shots from long distance.
Newberry was picked to finish fifth in the preseason poll after a fifth-place finish a season ago. Coach Sean Page returns preseason first-team All-SAC pick Meg Essex and second-team selection Nicola Handreck. Essex was sixth in scoring last season with 14.8 per game.
On Jan. 11, 2017 at Holt Fieldhouse, Handreck scored a career-high 36 points, besting her prior mark of 25 points. The guard went 9-for-17 from three-point range producing the third-highest made triples in a game in the history of the league. Her nine three-pointers were the most yielded by C-N since Nikki Van Dine made eight for Tusculum on March 7, 2009 in the SAC Quarterfinals as she became the first player to attempt 15 or more triples since at least 1995.
Newberry has not lost a game at home this season yielding no more than 62 points in the three affairs at Eleazer Arena. Overall the unit is allowing 59.1 points per game and limiting teams to a 36 percent clip from the floor, both second in the SAC on the year.
Reigning co-player of the week in the league, Shelby Britten, is the team's leader in scoring at 19.3 points per game, second in the conference. The guard leads the country in three-pointers made with 27 on the year making 36 percent of those attempts. She has taken 139 shots, fourth-most in the nation.
Three players average 49.9 of the team's 65.1 points per game on the year with Meg Essex posting 15.9 and Handreck sitting at 14.7 as the only team with a trio of players in the top-10 in the SAC in scoring.
Supporters can settle in for the radio broadcast on 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) or on cneagles.com/live starting at 1:45 p.m. with "The Appalachian Electric Cooperative Countdown to Tip-Off" on the Eagle Sports Network.
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