ROCK HILL, S.C. – After winning the regular season title, Haris Price was named the South Atlantic Conference's Co-Player of the Year and Mike Mincey was named the Coach of the Year announced Thursday morning as seventh-ranked Carson-Newman placed four players on all-league clubs.
"They are hard workers," Mincey stated about his top four. "They try to make it about we not me. A lot of these guys could be somewhere else scoring more points. They have had to put their stars aside and try to play within a team framework. They have made it about the team and not an individual. If just focus on the team and what we want to try to accomplish – if you do good things – then the individual stuff will come."
It is the fourth time in the history of the conference that there two players are named the Player of the Year and first since C-N's Brooke Johnson and Wingate's Tanetra Barrett shared in 2004-05. Price joins Johnson and Leah Jackson in 1992-93 as the only three players in the history of the program to win a player of the year plaudit.
"I really owe most of my success to my teammates," Price said. "Player of the Year is awesome, but it could have been any of us. Any night it could be Bri stepping up and scoring 20 or Mika or Kayla. I am honored and blessed to be here.
"I think us four do get recognized a lot but there are so many people on the team that don't get the highlights of every game. I am really thankful that I get to be their teammate."
Price was named the SAC Player of the Week three times this season, the first time a C-N player has achieved that. The Gatlinburg, Tenn. native ranked second in the conference in scoring average at 17.5 during the regular season. Her 83 steals top the league and are 17th in the country. She was third in the conference with 4.7 assists per game, third in three-pointers made with 53, fourth in free-throw percentage at 84 and fifth in field-goal percentage at 52 percent.
The guard has scored in double figures in 12 straight games and 26 overall on the season including 10 with 20 or more. She has 25 games with at least three assists, 15 with three or more steals and 10 with at least a trio of triples.
Against LMU on Jan. 17, 2018, Price scored a career-high 38 points in a 105-90 victory. The 38-point effort is the most for a Carson-Newman (17-1, 9-1) player since Brooke Johnson scored 39 points against Clayton State on March 12, 2005, 4,694 days ago. The junior guard went 11-for18 from the floor and 11-for-12 from the charity stripe. For the third time in her career, she tallied nine assists.
Carson-Newman has a Coach of the Year for the seventh time in program history. Dean Walsh shared the accolade with Wingate's Johnny Jacumin in 2004-05 and Eddie Carter won five times (1989-90, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1994-95 and 1997-98).
"It's been a memorable one," Mincey reflected. "I don't know that we can duplicate it again or if it ever will be. It's just been a special group. Our offensive firepower and our style of play has been very exciting. We know before the year even started that we had a lot of really good players. I was blessed as a coach to be able to coach this group."
Mincey has led a dynamic group that has spent 10 weeks inside of the top five in the country. Prior to this year, the SAC had been represented in the top five for a total of nine weeks. The program spent three weeks as the No. 3 team in the country, achieving the highest mark during a season by any school in league history as one of four schools in the history of the league to reach the top five.
C-N captured its sixth league title in school history by beating No. 21 Wingate 86-71 in the regular season finale. It was the 26th win of the year marking the most by the school as a member of the Division II ranks. Overall it is the third-most wins in school history, tied with three other clubs.
The Lady Eagles are the highest scoring team in the history of the conference at 93.5 points per game besting the 87.6 scoring average by the 1990-91 Wingate unit. It is a mark that ranks third in the country. C-N has scored 100 or more points 11 times. The program had done so 11 times in the prior 27 years as a SAC member.
Price was joined on the top squad by junior Mika Wester (Newport, Tenn.) with sophomore Kayla Marosites (Elizabethton, Tenn.) on the second unit and junior Briana Smith (Nashville, Tenn.) earning a spot on the honorable mention club.
It is the second time in the history of the league that one team put a four players on the top three units as Wingate put a quartet of Bulldogs in 2014-15, two of which were on the honorable mention club.
After being named first-team All-SAC as a sophomore, Wester becomes the fourth player in the history of the program to be on the top club multiple times. Leah Jackson is the only four-time first-team All-SAC pick doing so from 1989-90 through 1992-93. Shari Buford (2008-09 and 2009-10) and Kori Lineberger (1997-98 and 1998-99) each did so twice.
The junior won the Player of the Week award twice and has three in her career. She tied with Price for scoring average with 17.5 points per game while shooting 91 percent from the charity stripe. Her 201 field goals made on the year led the SAC and was 14th in the country. She was third in field-goal percentage making 53 percent of her shots, sixth in blocks with 30 and eighth in assists per game at 3.7.
Overall, Wester scored in double figures in 28 of the team's 29 games on the year with 10 efforts of at least 20 on the season. She had 20 games with at least three assists and eight with three steals. With 1,068 points, the Newport, Tenn. native is 18th on the school's scoring ledger.
Marosites is one of the top rebounders in the country ranking 26th nationally with 10.2 boards per night while being second with five offensive rebounds per evening. With 135 offensive rebounds, the sophomore had more offensive boards than all but five players, including herself, had on the defensive end of the floor.
She is just the second player since 2000 to average a double-double during the season as Buford did so in 2009-10 with 12.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. Marosites is sitting at 12.6 points and 10.2 caroms on average this season. With 11 double-doubles, she is has the fifth-most by a player since the 2000 campaign while leading the conference on the year.
With 73 steals, she is second to Price in the league and 29th in the country in the category. Overall, she has 21 double-digit scoring efforts and 17 games with at least 10 boards. Marosites has 10 games with at least three assists and 13 with at least three pilfers. With 50 three-pointers on the year she is fourth in the conference in the category.
Smith has been a consistent cog in the C-N machine ranking 10th in the league in scoring at 13.6 on the season rankings second in made foul shots with 109 while making 78 percent, sixth in the SAC. Her 47 percent shooting clip is 11th in the league while her 52 steals are good for sixth.
The native of the Music City has scored in double figures 20 times with four games of at least 20 on the season. Smith has 16 games of three or more assists and nine with three or more steals on the year. Her numbers have improved across the board the later the season has gotten as she averages more in conference games. Smith shot 55 percent from long range in the month of February making 12 triples after making 32 through her first 76 games of her career.
Carson-Newman continues its journey in the SAC Women's Basketball Championships on Saturday against fourth-seeded Lincoln Memorial starting at noon. The Eagle Sports Network will have the coverage on 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and cneagles.com/live starting at 11:45 a.m.
Caroline Averette, Wingate
Shea Coker, Lincoln Memorial
Kayla Marosites, Carson-Newman
Serena Brown, Catawba
Danasia Witherspoon, Wingate
Shelby Britten, Newberry
Madi Suddreth, Lenoir-Rhyne
Alexy Mollenhauer, Anderson
Briana Smith, Carson-Newman
Lade Adepoju, Queens
Kasey Johnson, Tusculum
Sydney Wilson, Tusculum
Qua Hines, Lincoln Memorial
Taisha DeShazo, Catawba
Kennedy Weigt, Lenoir-Rhyne
Hannah Stull, Coker
Talia Barnes, Catawba
Kristian Eanes, Queens
Co-Player of the Year
Marta Miscenko, Wingate
Haris Price, Carson-Newman
Freshman of the Year
Qua Hines, Lincoln Memorial
Defensive Player of the Year
Alexis Dillard, Anderson
Coach of the Year
Mike Mincey, Carson-Newman
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