HARROGATE, Tenn. – Coming off of its first loss of the season, No. 11 Carson-Newman makes the short trip to a place that has been unkind over the year when it takes on Lincoln Memorial on Wednesday evening at 6 p.m.
"We had one of our best practices in about three weeks yesterday in terms of their body language and attitudes," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "We know that we gave one up, a winnable game on the road at Columbus State, which would have been huge as a resume builder. You can't go back and do anything about it now."
For the first time since the preseason poll of 2017, Carson-Newman (5-1) is not ranked in the top 10 in the country in either the WBCA or D2SIDA poll, a string of 17 weeks, the second-longest in the history of the SAC. Their conference record roll of eight-straight weeks in the top five ends as well.
Since joining the South Atlantic Conference, the Lady Eagles are 18-11 in SAC openers while holding a 5-2 record under Mike Mincey. However two of the last three seasons, Lincoln Memorial (2-2) has earned wins to open the conference slate against Carson-Newman.
Ten losses have occured since the last time C-N dropped back-to-back games when Mincey's unit fell 102-99 in overtime to Lincoln Memorial and 85-75 at Columbus State during the final week of November 2016 as the team began the year 2-3.
Wednesday evening will be the 82nd clash between the two programs with the Lady Eagles leading 48-33 but riding a six-game losing streak at Tex Turner Arena since a 74-72 C-N win on Jan. 25, 2012. Shannon Depew hit a runner with 0.3 seconds to play was the difference as she dropped a team-high 17 points.
Last season, C-N won two of the three meetings including a 79-73 win in the SAC Semifinals on March 3, 2018. – Jecca Simerly tallied her seventh-career double-double with 17 points and a career-high 13 rebounds as the Lady Eagles matched the conference record for wins in a season with their 28th.
Haris Price (Gatlinburg, Tenn.) finished the game with 20 points in 22 minutes as she was saddled with foul trouble in the game but went 10-for-12 from the charity stripe in the game. She had a dominating season against LMU last season averaging 28 points per game going 25-for-45 from the field over the three outings.
Mika Wester (Newport, Tenn.) notched 14 points and five boards and posted 19 points per contests in three games a season ago and posting a 51 percent field-goal percentage.
Shea Coker, a senior last season, led all scorers in the game with 23 points going 9-for-18 from the field while adding seven rebounds. Emily Griffith was the only other LMU player in double figures with 11 points.
Coach Krystal Evans has led her team to a 27-4 record inside the friendly confines over the last three seasons having won five in-a-row since a 74-55 loss to Lenoir-Rhyne on Jan. 27, 2018.
The Railsplitters have proven to be a strong rebounding club this season ranking 27th in the nation in rebounds per game at 46 per game for a plus-eight rebounding margin. Sydney Newsome leads the team with eight boards per evening, good for seventh in the league.
On the defensive end, teams are shooting 39 percent from the field making the 'Splitters one of the least stingy teams in the SAC. Foes are turning the ball over 15 times on average, a mark that is 234th in the nation.
With the ball, LMU is shooting 42 percent from the field, the fourth-best margin in the league, and making 35 percent of its attempts from long range, ranking third.
The Griffith twins lead the team in scoring with Rachel's 13 ranking 18th in the conference and Emily's 12 putting her 20th as two of the three players to post double figures on a nightly basis.
Getting to the free-throw line has been a big focal point for the unit posting at least 19 attempts at the stripe in each of the first four games of the year making 71 percent.
Tune into the broadcast coverage starting at 5:45 p.m. on 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) in the Lakeway Region and across the map on cneagles.com/live with "The Appalachian Electric Cooperative Countdown to Tip-Off" on the Eagle Sports Network.
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