Wester, Price carry No. 3 C-N over Aiken in season opener

VIDEO: Game Highlights

VIDEO: Mike Mincey Interview

VIDEO: Mika Wester Interview

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. –Mika Wester and Haris Price combined for 45 points and went 19-for-26 from the field as the duo lifted third-ranked Carson-Newman to a season-opening win at Holt Fieldhouse on Friday night over USC Aiken 94-68.

Pushing its home winning streak to 25 in-a-row, Carson-Newman has won six straight season cork poppers and five consecutive over USC Aiken. It is the second straight year that Lady Eagles produced at least 90 to open the year with the 94 the second-highest ever behind the 95 on Lees-McRae on Nov. 19, 2013.

Wester dropped 24 of her 26 points in the first half going 11-for-14 from the field with five boards in 26 minutes. Price went 8-for-12 from the field scoring 19 in 21 minutes.

"In the first half I knew that I needed to come out ready to score," Wester said. "For some reason this morning I wasn't even feeling good at all so I hoped that today wasn't just terrible. Maybe I should not feel good more often. I wanted to come out and set the tone early. I got open shots through us moving the ball quick. My teammates were really good at finding me. I got hot and they kept getting it to me."

Aiken jumped out to an 11-8 edge before the Lady Eagles closed the final 4:19 on a 16-2 run capped by a pair of foul shots from Briana Smith (Nashville, Tenn.) making it a 24-13 contest after 10 minutes.

Separation was tough to come by in the second stanza as the Pacers shot 50 percent from the field in the second. A layup from Star Toomey cut the Aiken deficit to five at 38-33 with 3:46 to go before the break. C-N scored the next five and a layup from Price with eight ticks to go made it a 50-38 margin at halftime.

Out of the break, Mincey's unit came out of the locker on fire outscoring the Pacers 29-13 in the frame. Aiken scored the first four points of the half before C-N ripped 18 unanswered points over a 3:44 sequence to push the differential out to 68-42 with 4:09 remaining in the third.

"We just weren't playing hard," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "We weren't playing to our standards in terms of effort. We talked about it at the half. They cut it to eight and boom we got some steals and easy buckets. Those are things that we had done to us by Carolina and Tennessee. When you can do that and get those easy buckets it's going to propel you forward and we had a big quarter in the third quarter."

Overall, it was a 25-2 run as an Ashton Wykle (Greeneville, Tenn.) jumper with 2:09 to play made it 75-44. The Lady Eagles entered the final frame ahead 79-51.

The first five points of the final period went to the home group to make it an 84-51 contest, the largest lead of the night for C-N, as the unit closed down contest to punctuate the win.

No other Eagle scored in double figures but 12 total players registered at least one point. Kayla Marosites (Elizabethton, Tenn.) and Addison Byrd (Nashville, Tenn.) each had nine points.

Carson-Newman turned 24 Aiken giveaways into 30 points scoring 17 on the fast break. The Lady Eagles held the lead for 34:25 on the evening.

Sade Johnson led the Pacers with 11 points going 4-for-8 from the field in 21 minutes. Kyrie' Chandler added 10 points but needed 11 shot attempts. Like C-N, 12 USC Aiken players found the scoring column.

The Lady Eagles stay at home on Saturday as they host Lander to continue the SAC/PBC Challenge. That match will begin at 3 p.m. inside Holt Fieldhouse. Live audio and video broadcasts of the contest will hit the airwaves of 106.3 (WPFT-FM) and cneagles.com/live 15 minutes before tip-off courtesy of the Eagles Sports Network.

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