LILBURN, Ga. – For the first time in the history of the South Atlantic Conference, a women's basketball program is ranked as one of the best three teams in the country as Carson-Newman checks in third in the Women's Basketball Coaches' Association and D2SIDA polls released Tuesday afternoon.
"This ranking is another great achievement for this team," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "However it's just a ranking and you don't get a trophy for high rankings. When you see your name alongside Lubbock Christian and Ashland who have won our national title the last two years, it's certainly a good feeling. I do think it's a testament to the type of team we have and the players that have chosen to come here and do something special.
"We've been very fortunate over the years to land some big-time players and this is the type of season this program has been striving for. Our players have put a lot of time and energy into this program and I'm happy they are getting this recognition. With that being said, we haven't won anything yet and many goals left to achieve."
For two weeks in February 2000, Presbyterian was ranked fourth for a team that opened the year 19-0 and finished the season 28-2 winning the conference's regular season and tournament crowns.
Carson-Newman has now been in the top five in the country for six weeks this year in the WBCA poll and seven weeks in the D2SIDA poll. Entering the season, SAC schools had spent a combined nine weeks in the top five since the conference's inception in 1989-90. Presbyterian spent five weeks in 1999-90, Lincoln Memorial spent three weeks last year and Tusculum was fifth in America in the Jan. 13, 2009 poll.
The Lady Eagles have spent each of the last nine weeks ranked in the top 10 in the country. No other SAC school has been inside of the top-10 for a cumulative total of 10 weeks in the history of their respective programs. Presbyterian and Lincoln Memorial each have nine as a school.
Mincey's group has the second-best scoring margin in Division II of nearly 29 points per game as Ashland leads the country at nearly 38 points. No. 2 Lubbock Christian's only loss this season came in San Antonio to Ashland by a 13-point margin, 79-66.
Individually, Haris Price (Gatlinburg, Tenn.) is sixth in America with 73 steals. Kayla Marosites (Elizabethton, Tenn.) is second in Division II with five offensive rebounds per game totaling nine double-doubles on the year. Mika Wester (Newport, Tenn.) is 16th with 162 field goals made as the team's leading scorer with 16.9 points per game.
With no midweek game, Carson-Newman hosts Queens (N.C.) on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Holt Fieldhouse. The Eagle Sports Network will have the video and audio streams on cneagles.com/live with radio coverage on 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville).
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