JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Two weeks away from opening the exhibition season, we wrap up the 2018-19 position previews for the Lady Eagles with a look at the backcourt with senior Briana Smith (Nashville, Tenn.).
Carson-Newman was one of the most dynamic scoring teams in the country last year posting 11 games with at least 100 points ranking third in the country with 90.9 points per game. The unit made 315 three-pointers, fourth in Division II, had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.46, fifth in the nation, and 20.1 assists per game, second nationally.
Smith is coming off of a year where she averaged 13 points per game and was 33rd in the country with 134 made foul shots. She picked up 60 steals, good for fourth in the SAC. The guard scored in double figures 23 times with four games of at least 20. The senior enters her final season at Mossy Creek with 892 points in her career as she angles to become the 21st Lady Eagle to join the 1,000-point club.
"I just want to keep boosting my work ethic like I have since freshman year," Smith said. "For example, after my freshman season I went home. I didn't even think about staying for the summer. This past summer I barely left campus working on my game trying to get better for my team."
Teaming with Smith is WBCA All-American and reigning SAC Co-Player of the Year, Haris Price who became the first C-N player to earn first-team All-American honors since 1986. The senior ranked 14th in the country with 90 steals adding 17.5 points per game and nearly five assists. In the record book, she is sitting with 834 points during her time at Carson-Newman. She is three triples shy of joining the top 10 in school history in the category and needs 43 assists to enter the top 10 in that category.
"Last year we got to see what she was capable of," Smith said. "Having an All-American point guard who does so much for our team, she is so valuable to what we do here."
Stepping into a bigger role at the end of the year, Tori Griffin (Strawberry Plains, Tenn.) looks to build on that momentum. Two of her five double-digit scoring efforts came in the postseason including a season-high 14 points on four three-pointers in the Southeast Region semifinals against Lander.
Coach Mike Mincey's unit will also welcome back Ashton Wykle (Greeneville, Tenn.) who missed the final 21 games of the year after sustaining a season-ending knee injury against King on Dec. 30. She was third in the league in three-point efficiency with a 44-percent clip when she went down. With 72 made triples in her career, Wykle needs 18 to add her name to the school's top 10 list.
"Me and [Wykle] came in together," Smith said. "She is the only senior that came in with me. I miss playing with her and it's going to be special to have her back. We miss her being almost automatic from the three."
Madison Bunch (Morristown, Tenn.) saw limited action averaging seven minutes in 15 games but made the most of her chances. At Mars Hill on Jan. 24, she poured in 19 points going 7-for-13 from the field helping the Lady Eagles set the SAC record for made triples in a game with 19 as a unit.
Two newcomers join the fray in Taylor Goforth (Friendsville, Tenn.) and Abby Wilson (Kingston, Tenn.). Goforth did a little bit of everything at Williams Blount High School earning a spot on the 2AAA All-Region Team as a senior. Wilson was a double-digit scorer throughout her career at Roane County.
The season tips off Thursday, Nov. 1 at North Carolina for a 6 p.m. tip-off from Chapel Hill. All season, broadcast coverage begins 15 minutes prior to the opening tip on the Eagle Sports Network's flagship station Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live. Home contests will feature a high definition video stream on cneagles.com/live.
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