ROCK HILL, S.C. – All-Americans Haris Price and Mika Wester were named preseason first-team All-South Atlantic Conference Wednesday by the league. Kayla Marosites and Briana Smith earned spots on the second unit to make Carson-Newman the second school in conference history to place four members on preseason lists.
"They are very good players," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "We are very blessed to have them. They have showed in our preseason practices and scrimmages that they are very good and very talented. We need to stay healthy. I think they are capable of having a very similar year. They are probably going to carry our team."
The only other school to place four players on preseason clubs was Tusculum doing so in the first-ever release in 2006-07. There have been nine occasions of three players including a pair of times that a program placed three on the top squad.
Price 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.
In her three seasons as a college player, the Gatlinburg, Tenn. native has 53 double-digit scoring efforts paced by a career-high 38 points on 11 of 18 shooting on Jan. 17, 2018. She had 30 games a year ago with at least three assists and has 71 such outings in her playing career.
"I think there is always stuff you can improve on," Price said. "There is always something you can get better at. I think for me this year it will probably be consistency on being a leader on and off the floor especially on the court.
"I think it shows our depth. Having four all-conference players is unheard of around here. Having those four being experienced in the Elite Eight shows the leadership we can have if we bring it every day."
One of the two All-Americans from a year ago, Mika Wester (Newport, Tenn.), is back for her senior season. Entering the year, she is 13th on the school's all-time scoring list 1,176 and has a chance of finishing second needing 561 points this year to pass Leah Jackson's total of 1,737.
Wester 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. She scored in double figures in 34 of the team's 35 games on the year with 12 efforts of at least 20 on the season.
The Newport, Tenn. native is one of the leading scorers among active players having scored in double figures in all but three games in her career. The southpaw is scoring 18.1 points per game in a Carson-Newman uniform shooting 50 percent from the field, 42 percent from deep and 87 percent from the line. Her margin of 90 percent, 72-for-80, from the charity stripe established a program record for a single season.
Entering her final campaign at Mossy Creek, Wester is one of four players to be a first-team All-SAC pick multiple times in her career. Leah Jackson was a four-time top team pick and is the only athlete to earn top honors at least three times in her career.
"One thing I focused on all summer is my defense," Wester said. "I know that has been lacking in the past and I hope to improve that every day. The four seniors have been leading by example on and off the court. We need to continue to do that and encourage the younger players. Some of them are going to see the floor and they have to be prepared and be ready."
Marosites became the second C-N player since 2000 to average a double-double during the season as Shari Buford did so in 2009-10 earning second-team All-SAC honors in her first season at Mossy Creek. With 364 total rebounds, she ranked fourth in the country while hauling in five offensive rebounds per night to rank second.
Overall, the junior had 13 double-doubles, 22 double-digit scoring efforts and 20 games with at least 10 boards and set the program record for rebounds in a game with 21 against 25th-ranked North Georgia in Southeast Region title game.
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.
The Nashville, Tenn. native has seen each of her percentages increase over the years. As a freshman her field goal, three-point and free-throw clips were 30, 29 and 66. Last season those numbers bumped to 44, 34 and 80 respectively. She has 45 double-digit scoring efforts and had 17 games with at least three assists last year after having 11 through two seasons.
Every game this season will be broadcast on cneagles.com/live and 106.3 (WPFT-FM) starting 15 minutes before tip-off starting Thursday as C-N takes on North Carolina at 6 p.m.
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