Wester crests 1,000 points as #3 C-N pulls away from Tusculum

VIDEO: Game Highlights

VIDEO: Mike Mincey Interview

VIDEO: Mika Wester Interview

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Mika Wester crossed the 1,000-point plateau for her career as third-ranked Carson-Newman won its 19th straight game at Holt Fieldhouse 100-79 Wednesday evening against Tusculum in South Atlantic Conference play for the team's 11th triple-digit scoring effort of the year.

"It means a lot to me," Wester reflected. "It just shows that hard work pays off as I always say until I can get the message out to everyone. I am just thankful for the girls that pushed me and the coaches that pushed me and the opportunity that I have here. It's just a blessing."

Wester finished the game with 27 points in the game going 10-for-18 from the field and adding seven assists and six rebounds. With the 27 points she scored as a rookie at Western Carolina, it pushed her into the four-digit club. The junior has 989 points as a Lady Eagle.

The team's second-leading scorer, Haris Price (Gatlinburg, Tenn.) added 23 points on 11-for-20 shooting from the field while handing out five assists. Price and Wester combined for 50 points going 21-for-38 from the field and handing out 12 of the team's 21 assists.

"I am really proud how Haris finished that game off," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "Obviously Mika getting her 1,000th point and scoring 27 is very special. Those two guys played really well."

Continuing its control of Holt Fieldhouse in the all-time series, Carson-Newman (24-1, 16-1) is now 31-6 inside of its home gym against Tusculum (15-7, 10-6) having won four straight games against the Pioneers.

"This game is going to serve us well," Mincey assessed. "Maybe it wasn't the best but a lot of credit goes to Tusculum for not making it our best game. To still get 100 and win by 21 says a lot about our kids. I am proud of them. Once we end the game and you look across the stat line everything is in our favor the way that we want it."

Tusculum rattled off five of the first seven points in the open 1:41 of the game. C-N responded by scoring nine straight to take the lead as Wester hit a left-handed layup to cap the spurt. Overall it was a 13-2 sequence over a 3:17 span to push the lead to 15-7. The Pioneers failed to score over the final 3:20 as the home group scored the final six points to hold a 21-13 lead after a quarter.

Sydney Wilson hit two triples and had a steal at midcourt and drove in for a layup on the right block for a person 8-0 run for Tusculum in 50 seconds to cut the deficit to a deuce at 23-21. With the score 29-24 with 5:37 to go before the break, C-N scored seven unanswered and used a 13-4 run to push the margin to 14 points at 42-28 with 3:06 to go.

Mincey's squad failed to make a field goal over the final 3:06 of the half but made a pair of foul shots to head into the locker room on top 44-36. C-N forced 11 turnovers and scored nine points off of those giveaways in the half.

To open the second stanza, Tusculum cut the margin to seven at 50-43 two minutes into the quarter. A 7-0 sequence helped pushed the lead to 20 points at 67-47 on a driving layup by Price. It was an 18-point contest at 72-54 when Tusculum scored seven straight to make it an 11-point game. A driving layup from Price in the final five seconds made it a 77-63 game with 10 minutes to play.

Carson-Newman maintained the margin in the fourth and used an 8-0 sequence in 90 seconds to stretch a 14-point lead to a game-high 22. Wester made a pair of foul shots with 17 ticks to go to crest 100 points.

Kayla Marosites (Elizabethton, Tenn.) finished with a career-high 18 rebounds, seven on the offensive end, with 11 points for her 10th double-double of the season.

Briana Smith (Nashville, Tenn.) went 8-for-10 from the line and added 19 points in 27 minutes with a season-high seven boards. Kelci Marosites (Elizabethton, Tenn.) was the fifth double-digit scorer with 10.

The Lady Eagles won the rebounding battle 49-37, including plus-nine in the fourth quarter, while scoring 56 points in the pain and 14 second-chance points.

Four Pioneers posted double-digit efforts as Wilson led the group with 23 points on seven of 19 shooting from the floor. Kasey Johnson and Yolizma Cupidan had 12 apiece and Lovely Locklear had 11.

Mincey's club hits the road for a Saturday matinee outing against Catawba at 2 p.m. from Salisbury, N.C. "The Appalachian Electric Cooperative Countdown to Tip-Off" ignites broadcast coverage at 1:45 p.m. on 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and cneagles.com/live on the Eagle Sports Network.

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