JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Riding a program-record 15-game home winning streak, Carson-Newman looks to sweep the regular season battle with Newberry Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. inside of Holt Fieldhouse in South Atlantic Conference play.
"Holt Fieldhouse is a great place to play," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey explained. "Not only do we shoot well here but others team do. It's a great venue to play college basketball. Our kids feel very comfortable here. They have put a lot of time in here shooting on these rims. Clearly we feel very comfortable here and we play well here."
During the 15-game home winning streak, the Lady Eagles have outscored their opponents by 439 points, an average of 29 points per game. Only once in that span has a game differential been single digits when Lenoir-Rhyne lost 82-75 on Feb. 11, 2017.
In 2017-18, Carson-Newman (17-1, 9-1) is averaging 106.3 points per game over eight games at Holt Fieldhouse shooting 52 percent from the floor scoring at least 100 points in seven of the eight contests. Mincey's group has six games shooting at least 50 percent from the field with the lowest output being 47 against Catawba on Jan. 6, 2018.
Nearly 2000 in attendance for a d2 @CNwbasketball game Wednesday night. Strong turnout by community, staff and students.— Mike Mincey (@MikeMincey) January 19, 2018
C-N holds a 27-17 all-time advantage in the series as the two programs are meeting for the 45th time. A win on Saturday would be the fifth straight over Newberry (10-7, 5-5) and mark the second-longest winning streak in the series for the Lady Eagles. The team won nine in-a-row from 2000-04.
The first meeting this season is the closest game of the season so far as C-N's largest lead was six points - the only contest in 2017-18 that the team did not lead by double digits at any points - and Newberry's largest margin was four.
It was Carson-Newman's second-lowest scoring output (71), second-worst shooting performance (37 percent) and worst three-point shooting effort (2-for-18, 11 percent) of the season.
Newberry held a 60-59 lead with 3:22 to play in the game when the Lady Eagles scored six unanswered points to go up by five with 33 ticks to play. C-N went 12-for-12 at the line over the final 4:06 to seal a win.
Mika Wester (Newport, Tenn.) and Haris Price (Gatlinburg, Tenn.) each scored 23 points in the game as the duo combined to go 19-for-21 from the free-throw line. Kayla Marosites (Elizabethton, Tenn.) pulled down 15 rebounds.
Newberry's Shelby Britten scored 23 points, Meg Essex had 17 points and Samara Hill produced 12 points in 18 minutes off of the bench.
"It's a contrast in styles," Mincey said of the matchup. "They are opportunity runners. To say that they slow it down is incorrect. They are going to take of the basketball. They aren't going to get wild with it – that's always been a key component to their style. We want a quicker tempo. They are trying to slow us down and we are trying to speed them up."
Newberry has won three of its last four games after snapping a five-game road losing streak Thursday evening with a 73-65 victory at Catawba. The month of January has been kind to the Wolves as the team is shooting 45 percent from the field and 38 percent from distance after it had shot 28 percent through the first 12 games of the year.
Four of the top six scorers will be on display at Holt Fieldhouse on Saturday as C-N's Wester and Price are second and third. Newberry's Essex and Britten are fifth and sixth. The duo for the Wolves are scoring 33.3 points per game of the team's 63.9 on the season. The next highest scoring individual is Courtney Lyons at just under seven.
Britten leads the conference in minutes played on the year and has attempted the most shots of any player with 262. The guard leads the SAC in triples made with 44 and is fourth in assists per game at 4.6.
The Wolves have been one of the top defensive units in conference action allowing 60 points and opponents to shoot less than 38 percent from the floor. Outside of giving up 90 points to Limestone to start the season, the Wolves have allowed 70 points four times, all losses.
Coach Sean Page is without the services of 2016-17 second-team All-SAC guard Nicola Handreck who is out for the season with a knee injury. The guard was averaging 14.7 points per game when her season ended in late November. She scored over 1,000 career points and had a 36-point outing at C-N in 2017.
To watch the game, fans can access the Eagle Sports Network's broadcast on cneagles.com/live starting at 1:45 p.m. with the radio call on 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville).
- CN -