JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – After a week off, third-ranked Carson-Newman returns to the hardwood Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. for a South Atlantic Conference battle with middling Queens (N.C.).
"It's been a productive week," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey analyzed. "In terms of practice we haven't really change a whole lot of what we are doing. We treated it the same, not going too terribly long. Overall I think it's been good for the kids and good for the coaching staff to get reenergized and ready to go for these last five games."
Carson-Newman (22-1, 14-1) puts its 17-game winning streak at home on the line on Saturday. It is the eighth-longest active string among Division II clubs as the Lady Eagles are one of 19 teams to not lose a home game in 2017-18.
Outside of upticks in scoring and offensive efficiency the biggest difference for this year's version of C-N is rebounding. In 2016-17, the Lady Eagles were 224th in defensive rebounding with a rebound margin ranked 117th at plus-1.6. This year, the group is 51st in defensive rebounding and 13th in rebound margin at plus-8.5.
Mincey's group has out-rebounded its opponent in 13 straight games since being minus-four at Anderson on Dec. 6, 2017. Last season, the club was 7-8 when recording fewer boards than its opposition. Thanks to a 19-1 mark this year when outrebounding its foes, C-N is now 88-28 in seven years of Mincey when coming away with more caroms.
Saturday is the 10th installment of the C-N and Queens (4-17, 1-14) series as the Lady Eagles have won each of the last seven outings after dropping the first two games played in 2014. The first outing this season featured the most lopsided game in series history as the Lady Eagles won by 45, 92-47, on Dec. 13.
Carson-Newman produced its best shooting percentage at 55.4 percent in a road game since shooting 57.1 percent in a 73-71 loss at Anderson on Feb. 18, 2015 while the team scored 35 points off of 23 turnovers.
Ashton Wykle went 4-for-4 from three-point range to power the team's 10-for-18, 56 percent, effort from beyond the arc. She was one of four players in double figures as Briana Smith led the way with a career-high 23 points on 9-for-11 from the floor.
Mandy McNeese paced the Royals with 15 points and five rebounds in 36 minutes on the court while Herning Wang chipped in 10. Queens used just eight players in the game.
Queens enters the weekend having dropped eight straight games since its only conference victory, a 65-62 triumph at Mars Hill on Jan. 6. The program has one win in its last 14 contests.
The numbers across the board are bleak as coach Sarah Jansen's team ranks inside the top 100 nationally in just one stat category, turnovers forced at 18.4 per game, 82nd in the country.
The Royals are 256th in the nation in scoring offense posting 59.5 points per game scoring more than 65 points in a game twice on the year. In conference outings, the Royals are registering 56 points per night and are one of the three worst free-throw shooting teams in the league at 67 percent.
Defensively, Queens is allowing its opponents to shoot 44 percent from the field, the 13th-worst margin in the country. Foes are converting on 36 percent of three-point attempts, the seventh-highest clip yielded in Division II on the season.
Crashing the glass has been a weakness as well on the year as the team is being out-rebounded by an average of six per night recording the third-lowest amount of caroms on the season at just under 32 per contest, a number that drops to 27.5 per game in SAC outings.
Lade Adepoju, who did not play in the first meeting, is the SAC's leading scorer at 18.1 points per game, while being its most efficient player shooting 55 percent from the field, a mark that is 27th in the country. She has registered double figures in all 18 games on the year with three straight 20-point efforts entering Saturday.
The Eagle Sports Network will have the broadcast on 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) in the East Tennessee area with video and audio streams available online at cneagles.com/live.
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