JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Five players scored in double figures as fourth-ranked Carson-Newman surged in the second quarter to pull away from Catawba 88-60 Saturday afternoon in South Atlantic Conference play in a battle of No. 1 and No. 2 in the league standings.
"They started hitting the offensive glass," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "It wasn't that we were getting stuff first chance. Hitting those boards and they were fouling us on second chance. We were going to the free-throw line and scoring that way. It also got them in foul trouble which was obviously key. It's a different kind of lineup for us that we hadn't been able to utilize all year."
Carson-Newman (15-0, 7-0) is now one game shy of tying its best start to a season in program history and one game short of matching its longest winning streak against the league as the Lady Eagles have won nine straight games.
Having won four straight conference games entering play, Catawba (7-7, 5-2) loses to a SAC team for the first time since Dec. 2, 2017 to stay in a three-way tie for second on the conference ledger.
The Indians scored all 18 of their points in the paint in the first quarter as Terri Rogers went 5-for-7 and scored 10 points. Catawba shot 56 percent from the floor in the opening 10 minutes as the two teams were all squared at 18 after a quarter.
C-N captured a two-point lead with 6:57 remaining in the second quarter before exploding offensively. Despite not making a field goal for a two-minute stretch, the Lady Eagles rattled off six straight at the free-throw line. It was a part of an 11-0 run as Catawba failed to make a field goal over a 4:26 sequence.
Overall, the fourth-ranked team in the country outscored the Indians 18-5 to end the half as Kayla Marosites (Elizabethton, Tenn.) converted a three-point play in the final minute to make it a 45-30 lead for Mincey's group at the break.
Foul trouble played a role for Catawba in the first half as Rogers did not play the second quarter and starters Marshauna Butler and Serena Butler picked up their third fouls in the second stanza.
In the third quarter, the two sides played evenly for much of the frame until C-N's defense held Catawba without points over the final 2:08 of the third and first 2:25 of the fourth quarter using an 11-0 spurt to push the lead to 25 points at 73-48.
The final spurt for the home group was a 7-0 run to push the lead to 27 points at 80-53. Catawba failed to make a bucket from the floor in the final 2:47 as the Lady Eagles push the finishing touches on an 88-60 win.
Five of Mincey's players scored in double figures in the contest as Kayla Marosites led the way with 16 points to go along with a career-high five steals and four rebounds.
Wester scored 14 points and had three assists and three rebounds while Price tossed in 13 points, three assists, three steals and three rebounds.
"Scoring came slow at first," Price assessed. "I think us not letting off of our press and getting some steals helped. I think us taking advantage of [their foul trouble] and getting to the basket and getting offensive rebounds kept us in the game in the first half."
Rogers led all scorers in the game with 24 points, her most in a game against C-N in her career going 11-for-18 from the field in 23 minutes of action. Brown was the only other player on the roster to tally more than five points scoring 11 in the game.
Carson-Newman ended up winning the points in the paint battle 38-36 after giving up 18 in the first quarter scoring 15 second-chance points thanks to 14 offensive rebounds.
"We are not giving up offensive rebounds and second-chance points [this year]," Mincey stated. "That's one of the things I think Catawba is really good at – collecting offensive rebounds and score off of it. It was nice to have those runs where they didn't get baskets."
Mincey's squad hits the road for two outings next week beginning with a tilt against in-state foe Tusculum Wednesday at 6 p.m. The Eagle Sports Network hits the airwaves at 5:45 p.m. on 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and cneagles.com/live with the audio broadcast.
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