JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Trailing by a point 2:45 to go in the game, top-seeded Carson-Newman made its final four shots from the field and scored the final nine points of the game to win its fourth NCAA Tournament game in program history 70-62 on Friday evening at Holt Fieldhouse.
"All I know is that on the scoreboard we won by eight," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "We advance. It wasn't our best game of the year. Anderson is a tough team. We beat them twice and what does the old saying, it's hard to beat the same team three times in one year. They know our ins and outs. They did a phenomenal job defensively.
"I'm proud of our kids. We are at home and there is a little pressure being that one seed to advance to the next round. That's all that matters at this point. As long as you are advancing and you are winning the game and you get to play another day, then I'm going to be happy as a coach."
Carson-Newman (30-2) wins its first game in the NCAA Women's Basketball Championships since 2010, also against a South Atlantic Conference team when it beat Lenoir-Rhyne.
In the second quarter, C-N became the highest scoring team in the history of the league. C-N now has 2,939 points as a team passing Wingate's mark of 2,887 in a 33-game season in 1989-90.
For the second straight year, Anderson (20-11) loses at the No. 8 seed after losing to Columbus State, the eventual 2017 region champions, last year.
Katie Stubblefield (Alcoa, Tenn.) converted an and-one to open the fourth quarter before Anderson scored seven straight points to pull within two points with 8:28 to on a triple from Madison Baggett.
Layups from Stubblefield and Haris Price (Galtinburg, Tenn.) pushed the lead to three with just under two minutes to play. Baggett missed a three at the other end as C-N set up its offense. Price flipped to Briana Smith (Nashville, Tenn.) on the right win as the sophomore cashed in a triple to make it a six-point game.
Price made a pair of foul shots to send the Lady Eagles to the Southeast Region semifinal as Anderson made just one of its final eight shots from the field.
Alexy Mollenhauer made the first shot of the game, a three-pointer from the right wing, before C-N rattled off six straight to take a 6-3 lead. With the Lady Eagles ahead by four, Anderson rattled off six straight to take a 14-12 edge. Stubblefield hit a driving layup in the waning seconds, got fouled and converted the foul shot to make it a 15-14 game after 10 minutes.
Anderson failed to make a shot from the field during the first five minutes of the second stanza as C-N used the Stubblefield and-one to churn out an 11-0 run to push the lead to 23-14. The Trojans scored just six points, the lowest in a second quarter by any C-N foe, as the Lady Eagles went into the locker room on top 33-20.
Out of the locker room, Mincey's group made one of its first seven as the Trojans began red hot. A jump hook by Alexis Dillard with 2:12 to go in the third put Anderson on top 41-40. Carson-Newman responded by scoring nine of the final 11 of the frame to take a 49-43 lead into the fourth.
C-N put four players in double figures led by 18 points, five assists and four rebounds from Price as 10 of her points and four of her assists came after halftime.
"At the end of the third and beginning of the fourth we got really stiff offensively," Price assessed. "We play at our best when we are playing loose. I think getting to the rim and opening some shots was the ball going our way towards the end."
Stubblefield had not scored in double digits in a month but produced a season-high 15 points on six of nine shooting with five boards.
"Tonight was one of those nights," Stubblefield stated. "We are a pretty deep team and we have the ability to score all around. Tonight just happened to be where it was going my way."
Baggett led all scorers with 20 in the contest going 7-for-15 from the field but missed four triples in the final 1:19 of the contest.
Dillard ended the game with 12 points and seven boards. Kaylee Koerprich had 10 points and eight rebounds while Mollenhauer registered 12 points, five caroms and three rejections.
Mincey's group advances to the Southeast Region semifinals for the third time in program history and will play fourth-seeded Lander, a team C-N beat 90-87 a neutral floor on Nov. 11, Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m. inside of Holt Fieldhouse. The Eagle Sports Network hits the airwaves at 7:15 p.m. on 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and cneagles.com/live.
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