JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Rocketing up the latest coaches poll, Carson-Newman takes the nation's best scoring offense on the road to the Abney Athletic Center Wednesday evening to face the South Atlantic Conference's best scoring defense in Anderson at 6 p.m.
Carson-Newman (9-0, 2-0) is seeking double-digit wins without a loss to begin a season for the fifth time in program history - 2009-10 (16), 1978-79 (13), 1989-90 (12), 2014-15 (11). Wingate broke up the hot starts in 2014-15 and in 1989-90 with the strings coming to a halt at home twice and on the road twice.
The latest Women's Basketball Coaches Association poll was released Tuesday afternoon with the Lady Eagles rising seven spots to eighth. It matches the highest ranking in the history of the program at the NCAA Division II level from January 2010 when the program started the season 16-0.
The all-time series sees the Lady Eagles hold a 10-8 advantage but are just 3-5 on Anderson's (6-2, 1-0) home floor. Each squad scored victories on their home floor a year ago.
In the most recent outing on Feb. 8, 2017, Madison Baggett became the first player to ever record a triple-double against the Lady Eagles finishing with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. The Trojans scored the first 12 points of the night and sealed an 84-76 win with a 16-3 fourth-quarter run.
The home group started getting to the charity stripe during the stretch run, attempting 16 shots in the final five minutes and going 19-for-21 in the quarter overall.
Mika Wester (Newport, Tenn.) scored 43 points in the 2016-17 season series going 18-for-33 from the field while averaging 6.5 rebounds. Among the returners, Briana Smith (Nashville, Tenn.) was the other C-N player to score in double figures in each game with 15 and 10 respectively.
Anderson picked up three first-place votes but to rank third in the preseason poll after nestling into the eighth position of the Southeast Region a year ago. The Trojans fell by 11 to top-seeded Columbus State in the opening round. 2016-17 second-team All-SAC honoree Heather Jankowy has graduated leaving a hole at point guard.
The Trojans are playing their second home game of the year Wednesday evening having won back-to-back contests since dropping the only two affairs of the year in Tampa, Fla. against Minnesota State Moorhead and Tampa.
Wednesday night pits the nation's top scoring offense, C-N, against the best scoring defense in the SAC and a group that ranks 11th nationally in points allowed per game at 52.8. The Trojans have allowed more than 70 points twice, both losses. In the six wins for Anderson, foes are scoring 46.5 points per game and have not scored more than 57.
Coach Jonathon Barbaree is fourth in the country in field-goal percentage defense at 30.7 percent, sixth in three-point percentage defense at 21.1 percent, seventh in blocked shots at 47 and seventh in rebounds per night registering 49 per night at nearly a plus-10 margin.
On offense, Anderson scores 72.3 points per game, third in the league relying on its inside game as the unit is making 28.7 percent of its shot from long distance to rank 204th in the country.
Three players are scoring in double figures led by graduate post player Alexis Dillard's 12.3 points per game. She is making 52 percent of her shots from the floor having posted double-digit scoring efforts in all but one game on the year. Dillard is fifth in rebounding at 8.4 caroms per evening and third with 11 rejections.
Ace Easter has six games with at least 10 points from the guard position registering 11.8 points per game. The 2016-17 SAC Freshman of the Year, Alexy Mollenhauer, has been boom or bust averaging 10.4 points despite only three double figure nights.
The Eagle Sports Network will pull up a chair courtside to paint a picture on a blank canvas starting at 5:45 p.m. with "The Appalachian Electric Cooperative Countdown to Tip-Off". Find a comfortable spot and lock in for the audio broadcast on cneagles.com/live and 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville).
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