JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – One of the five remaining unbeaten teams in Division II basketball, fourth-ranked Carson-Newman looks to end an eight-game losing streak versus South Atlantic Conference adversary Wingate Saturday afternoon for a 2 p.m. tip-off at Cuddy Arena.
"I think they have been the premiere program in the league over the last 20 years of regular season and tournament titles," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said of Wingate. "They have solid coaching, a good recruiting base and solid players. It's been a program that usually year-after-year produces a lot of wins."
As Carson-Newman (16-0, 8-0) looks to establish new records for consecutive wins to start a season overall and in SAC play and straight regular-season conference wins, currently at 10, Wingate (12-3, 6-2) has played spoiler often in the past.
The Lady Eagles have opened a season with double-digit wins before a loss five times in the 40 years as a program. The Bulldogs put an end to a 12-0 start in 1989-90 and an 11-0 beginning in 2014-15.
Winners of 10 straight regular-season league outings, C-N's last loss against a league foe came at Wingate on Feb. 18, 2017, an 85-73 decision.
Although it is not on the line Saturday, Mincey's unit has won 14 straight home games dating back to its last loss at home coming at the hands of Ann Hancock's team on Jan. 7, 2017, an 80-75 overtime win.
Saturday marks the 71st all-time meeting between the schools with Wingate holding a 40-30 lead. The Bulldogs have won eight straight matchups, the longest string for either school a series that started in 1987.
The last time the Lady Eagles prevailed in the series came on March 2, 2013 at Holt Fieldhouse as current assistant coach Tatum Burstrom scored 12 points as C-N outscored Wingate 39-24 in the second half to complete as a season sweep of the Bulldogs.
Wingate, the two-time defending SAC Tournament champion, was tabbed the league favorite with seven first-place votes in the preseason poll. The Bulldogs earned the No. 2 seed in the Southeast Region and lost to Lincoln Memorial in the second round by 19 points. Two of Ann Hancock's players were named first-team all-league picks in the preseason in Danasia Witherspoon and Marta Miscenko.
Since the start of the decade, Wingate is 87-18 at home, the best record amongst SAC schools in that stretch. Hancock's group has won 15 straight inside of Cuddy Arena since a 62-61 setback to Anderson on Jan. 14, 2017. It is good for the ninth-longest streak amongst Division II teams in the country. C-N's seven-game winning streak on the road is tied with West Texas A&M for the fourth-longest nationally.
The Bulldogs entered the year ranked 14th in the country and rose as high as No. 6 in the WBCA coaches' poll after the first week of the regular season. After losing two games in a four-game stretch the team fell out of the poll this week and sits in the receiving votes area, 29th in the nation.
Miscenko is coming off of a career-high 31 points against Lenoir-Rhyne on Wednesday going nine of 14 from the floor in 36 minutes of play. One of three double-digit scorers, the post player is recording a team-high 16.2 points per game making 50 percent of her shots. In last year's meeting in the Tar Heel State, she went for 21 points and 14 boards.
In terms of possessions per game, Wingate and Newberry play the slowest paced games in the league at 81.1 per contest - compare that to C-N's up-tempo style of 96.1. The 'Dogs are second to the Lady Eagles in field-goal percentage (45) and three-point percentage (38) ranking 23rd and 14th respectively in the nation.
Hancock has three players ranked in the top 10 of the league in minutes per game led by Courtney Robinson's 33 minutes per evening as only seven players average double figure minutes.
Defensively, opponents are scoring 58.1 points per game this season, second in the league and 35th in the nation. Nine times Wingate has held an opponent to 60 or fewer points. Lander is the only team to score more than 70 points winning 81-76 on Nov. 21.
Providing the official outlet for the Eagle Sports Network, the radio broadcast can be found on 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and cneagles.com/live for basketball enthusiasts near and far to enjoy the broadcast coverage.
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