JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – One win shy of the 19th 20-win season in program history, fifth-ranked Carson-Newman as the Lady Eagles continue South Atlantic Conference play with a road trip to the DeLoach Center to face Coker Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.
"It's what we have been striving for since I was given the head coaching reins," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "We wanted to get to a point where we are a consistent 20-game winner, year-in and year-out, be top-four in our league and be considered one of the elite programs in our region. Now we are striving to be one of those top-10, top-five programs in the country."
In the 39th year of the program, Carson-Newman (19-1, 11-1) is searching for its 19th 20-win season. After winning 20 last season, the Lady Eagles are looking for back-to-back 20-win campaigns since 1991-92 and 1992-93, a span of 25 years, when the program went 44-18 over the two-year span and qualified for the NAIA District 26 Tournament.
A win on Saturday would equal the school's fastest to 20 wins in program history with the 1984-85 team that won 31 of the first 32 games of the year in a season when C-N finished 32-3. The 20th win for that team came exactly 32 years ago to the day on Jan. 28, 1985 at Tennessee Wesleyan, 67-54. It took the 1989-90 team 22 games to win 20 when the Lady Eagles won at Catawba on Feb. 3, 1990 by a score of 83-55.
Entering the contest, C-N has picked up five straight wins over Coker (6-11, 3-8) and has won eight of the first 10 meetings between the two schools. On Dec. 9, Carson-Newman saw seven players score in double figures in a 114-82 pounding of the Cobras at Holt Fieldhouse.
Jecca Simerly (Talbott, Tenn.) had 15 points and 10 rebounds and Kayla Marosites (Elizabethton, Tenn.) notched 12 points and 10 boards to become the first duo with a double-double in the same game in 86 outings when Jai Jai McLaughlin and Simerly did so against Brevard on Jan. 14, 2015.
Kelci Marosites (Elizabethton, Tenn.) led the way with her highest tally in the Orange and Blue with 17 points, five rebounds and three assists while making three of five shots from long range.
Coker's Hayley Kropp led all scorers in the game with a career-high 26 points going 10-for-18 from the field and making six of her 11 shots from beyond the arc. On the season, she is the team's only double-digit scorer registering 12.4 points per game. She is second in the SAC in three-point percentage at 36 and fourth in the conference with 39 made triples.
Coker enters play this weekend with the second-longest losing skid in the league having lost five straight since a 60-49 home win over Newberry on the third of January.
After scoring 83 points per game in five December outings, the Cobras have been less potent offensively in January posting 60 points through six contests having put up over 61 points just once, a 77-74 loss to Anderson at home. Outside of going 9-for-12 from three-point range against the Trojans, coach Shannon Johnson's team is 12-for-52, 23 percent from distance since the calendar flipped to 2018.
Only three teams in America have committed more fouls that Coker's 23 per game on the season as the Cobras have been guilty of at least 20 in 15 of the 17 games on the year. In turn, foes are shooting on average 26 foul shots per game, making 19. Despite the foul troubles, no Coker player ranks in the top 14 in the league in fouls per game.
With six games of 20 or more turnovers on the year, Johnson's unit is ninth in the conference with an average of 18.4 turnovers per game. Despite giving the ball up 20 times against C-N in the first meeting, Coker outscored the Eagles 26-21 in points off of turnovers.
On the blocks, Janea Williams ranks third in the SAC in rebounds per game with 8.7 per night with six double-digit carom efforts on the year. Williams is also second with 37 blocks on the year.
Pre-game coverage starts on 106.3 (WPFT-FM) in the Lakeway Region and 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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