COLUMBUS, Ga. – The last two Southeast Region Champions meet Sunday afternoon at the Lumpkin Center when third-ranked Carson-Newman travels to face 2017 titlist Columbus State for a 2 p.m. tip-off in the last game before South Atlantic Conference action ignites.
For the fourth consecutive season, Carson-Newman (5-0) and Columbus State (2-0) meet on the hardwood. It is the 13th all-time meeting as the Cougars hold a 7-5 as neither side has been able to win two in-a-row since the CSU won the first three meetings in the series from 1998 to 2002.
The Lady Eagles have just one win in four road trips to the Peach State coming on Nov. 28, 2009 when C-N escaped with a 68-64 triumph scoring the final four points of the night on a jumper and two foul shots from Mandy Mendenhall. She led all scorers with 21 points with Shari Buford adding a double-double with 10 points and 12 boards.
Last year's outing came at Holt Fieldhouse on Nov. 26 with Carson-Newman producing the third-most points in school history in a 119-91 win. Six players scored in double figures with Haris Price (Gatlinburg, Tenn.) leading the Lady Eagles with 26 points, seven assists and six rebounds going 10-for-18 from the field in the game. Mika Wester (Newport, Tenn.) also flirted with a triple-double with 15 points, seven boards and seven helpers.
Tatiana Wayne registered a game-high 37 points on the night going 7-for-13 from beyond the arc picking up seven rebounds, three assists and three steals for the Cougars. The senior guard was the Southeast Region and Peach Belt Player of the Year in 2017-18. To begin this season, she has posted 29 and 12 points respectively but is shooting just 32 percent from the field.
With wins over teams picked to finish first, third, six, seventh and ninth in the Peach Belt preseason poll, Mike Mincey's club takes on a unit that slotted to end the year second. Anita Howard returns seven players from a team that reached the NCAA Tournament and lost in the opening round to Wingate, 90-79.
The last time the Orange and Blue visited Columbus State was on Nov. 27, 2016 as the Cougars scored 23 points off of turnovers and posted 44 points in the paint in a wire-to-wire 85-75 victory. It was a five-point game with 1:35 to go in the third before the Lady Eagles allowed a 10-1 run to fall behind by 15, a deficit it could never cut into.
Wester led the way in the end with 20 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Briana Smith (Nashville, Tenn.) registered 16 points five assists and four rebounds.
Howard's squad has started the season against two Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference schools with a 98-63 win over Fort Valley State and a 64-54 victory against Albany State in games that came last weekend.
In the first game, the Cougars went to the free-throw line 56 times, making 38, as the team is shooting 61 percent at the line to begin the year. Efficiency has not been a strength with the team making 34 percent of its shots from the field and just 26 percent from long range.
Defensively, Columbus State has notched 35 total steals forcing 28 and 24 turnovers in the first two games of the year. Opponents have taken 76 foul shots but are converting just 59 percent of those efforts.
Howard has already used 17 different players with 14 registering at least one point on the season. LeeAysia Williamson is the only other player to average double figures with 15 per night. Eboni Williams is not far behind with 9.5 points per game making seven of 13 to open the year.
Sunday's matinee coverage on the Eagle Sports Network begins at 1:45 p.m. with "The AEC Countdown to Tip-Off" on 106.3 (WPFT-FM) locally and on cneagles.com/live from your favorite streaming device.
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