LILBURN, Ga. – In the final Women's Basketball Coaches Association poll released following the national championship, Carson-Newman was ranked fifth, the highest final ranking in the history of South Atlantic Conference schools.
It completes a campaign in which the Lady Eagles were ranked in every single poll released by the organization starting on Nov. 21, 2017, a string of 16 straight weeks. The program reached as high as No. 3 nationally doing so for three straight weeks from Feb. 6-20, 2018. It was the best slot a SAC team had ever been during a season.
Coach Mike Mincey's team spent the final 14 weeks inside of the top 10 in America and nine as a top-five team in the poll. Since the SAC formed in 1989-90, no team had spent double-digit weeks in the top 10 as other schools have combined for 33 weeks in the top 10 in the history of the poll. Presbyterian in 1999-00 spent nine weeks amongst the 10 best teams in the country.
Prior to 2017-18, teams from the league had spent a total of seven weeks in the coaches poll ranked in the top five as Presbyterian was in it for five weeks in 1999-00.
No other school had finished a season ranked in the top five. Wingate's No. 7 ranking in 1993-94 was the prior best mark to conclude a campaign.
Let's take a moment to appreciate @CNwbasketball in 2017-18.— Michael Wottreng (@MWottreng) March 20, 2018
✅ First #EliteEight in C-N history
✅ 3⃣ Championships
✅ SAC record for wins
✅ 2⃣ All-Americans
✅ 1⃣2⃣ school records
✅ 1⃣1⃣ weeks in top 5
✅ Highest scoring team in SAC history
✅ 1⃣1⃣ 100-point games pic.twitter.com/jnnz9MLbZG
Carson-Newman went to the program's first Elite Eight after capturing its first SAC regular season crown in 21 years, its second SAC Tournament title and first-ever Southeast Region Championship.
The Lady Eagles matched a school record with 32 wins on the year setting the SAC record in that category by four games. Other records that C-N now holds among SAC schools is most points in a year (3,180), points per game (90.9) and assists (702).
Mincey's unit produced 11 games with at least 100 points after the school had registered 11 such games combined over the previous 27 seasons. Overall, the 2017-18 squad set 12 school records during the season.
Juniors Haris Price (Gatlinburg, Tenn.) and Mika Wester (Newport, Tenn.) were named WBCA All-Americans marking the first time in school's Division II era that teammates were named to the top teams in the nation. Only one player in that stretch had been one 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.
This season marks the second time in school history that a poll ranks Carson-Newman in the final rendition as the Lady Eagles finished the 2004-05 season ranked No. 18 in America.
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