ATLANTA – For the first time in the school's history in the NCAA rankings, Carson-Newman has a pair of All-Americans as Haris Price and Mika Wester were tabbed by the Women's Basketball Coaches' Association on Sunday evening.
"It just shows that everything I have been through in the past has led to this day," Wester reflected. "Us playing together in AAU to high school and everyone in our path has molded us to be in this moment right now. All of the work that we put in. [Athletic Director] Allen Morgan told me this summer, 'if you want to be an All-American' you have to put in four hours every day. I took him very seriously. Just to see that hard work pay off means the world to me."
As a member of Division II, the Lady Eagles had one All-American when Shari Buford was a third-team pick in 2009-10. Overall Price and Wester are the ninth and 10th players to earn the honors in the history of the program.
"It's a great honor," Price stated. "Just to be one of them that get this honor – that's awesome. It's been a long journey this year. To finish out the season in Sioux Falls is awesome. I am super excited for this week. It's amazing to see the growth of Mika as a player."
For Price, she was one of the 10 players listed on the top unit as eight of those individuals are gearing up for the Elite Eight that begins on Monday.
Price joined Brooke 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 as the junior was named the SAC's Co-Player of the Year this season.
She was named to the D2CCA All-Southeast Region team on March 11 and was put on the NCAA Southeast Region All-Tournament team later that evening.
The Gatlinburg, Tenn. native was named the SAC Player of the Week three times this season, the first time a C-N player has achieved that. Price ranks third in the conference in scoring average at 17.5. Her 89 steals top the league and are 18th in the country. She was third in the conference and 39th in the nation with 4.7 assists per game, second in three-pointers made with 65, fourth in free-throw percentage at 82 and fifth in field-goal percentage at 52 percent.
The guard has scored in double figures in 30 outings on the season including 12 with 20 or more. She has 29 games with at least three assists, 16 with three or more steals and 11 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 player since Brooke Johnson scored 39 points against Clayton State on March 12, 2005, 4,694 days prior. The junior guard went 11-for-18 from the floor and 11-for-12 from the charity stripe. For the third time in her career, she tallied nine assists.
Wester was placed on the honorable mention portion of the list that features 32 total student-athletes after the junior collected SAC Tournament and Southeast Region Tournament MVPs on top of being a first-team All-SAC pick and a first-team all-region selection.
A second-team all-region selection as a sophomore, she became the first Lady Eagle to win multiple regional honors since Leah Jackson was a three-time NAIA All-District 26 pick three times from 1991-93.
The Newport, Tenn. native became the fourth player in the history of the program to be a first-team All-South Atlantic Conference pick multiple times on the first of March. Jackson is the only four-time first-team All-SAC pick doing so from 1989-90 through 1992-93. Buford (2008-09 and 2009-10) and Kori Lineberger (1997-98 and 1998-99) each did so twice.
In the 2018 SAC Women's Basketball Championships, the forward was named the Tournament's MVP after scoring 61 points and making 25 of 44 shots from the field leading the Lady Eagles to their second tournament crown.
She recorded her first double-double of the season in the Southeast Region semifinals with 19 points and 11 assists. Wester became the first C-N player since Nov. 30, 2016 to record a double-double with points and assists. The 11 helpers are the most by a C-N player in the postseason in history passing Tara Beth Pyle's eight from March 5, 1998.
The junior won the Player of the Week award twice and has three in her career. She leads the SAC in scoring average with 17.9 points per game while shooting 91 percent from the charity stripe. Her 250 field goals made on the year is ninth in the country. She was third in the SAC in field-goal percentage making 53 percent of her shots, sixth in blocks with 33 and eighth in assists per game at 3.8.
Overall, Wester has scored in double figures in 33 of the team's 34 games on the year with 12 efforts of at least 20 on the season. She had 23 games with at least three assists and nine with three steals. With 1,165 points, the Newport, Tenn. native is 13th on the school's scoring ledger.
The WBCA also announced its regional coaches of the year as Mike Mincey was named the top man in Region three. Carson-Newman has matched a program record for wins and set the South Atlantic Conference's high mark for victories with 32 in 2017-18. The Lady Eagles swept the conference titles winning their sixth league regular-season crown and their second tournament title.
Mincey's team holds the SAC record for points per game, total points scored and assists and is in the Elite Eight for the first time in program history. Carson-Newman has 11 games with at least 100 points matching the output of the prior 27 years combined.
Reaching the No. 3 team in the country, C-N is the highest ranked team in the country. The team has spent eight weeks in the top five in the country in the WBCA poll and 11 in the D2SIDA poll. Prior to this season, SAC teams had spent a combined nine weeks in the top five.
The Lady Eagles hit the floor of the Sanford Pentagon on Monday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. in the Elite Eight against seventh-seeded Union. Broadcast coverage starts at 3:15 on 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online by using cneagles.com/live.
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